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A Study Suggests that a Mediterranean Diet May Help Reduce the Signs of Anxiety and Stress

The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet are well known. The University of South Australia’s recent research, which was published in the journal Nutrients, confirms that the Mediterranean diet, which is already advised to lower the chances of dementia, heart disease, and colon cancer, can also lessen the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Researchers evaluated the effects of a Mediterranean diet on mental health in 294 older Australians (60 years of age and above), conducting the study in collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast. They discovered that the diet decreased the intensity of stress and anxiety, regardless of age, gender, sleep patterns, or body mass index.

They also found that certain diet components, such as fruit, nuts, legumes, and a daily limit of fewer than 250 milliliters of sugar-sweetened beverages, lessened the intensity of stress and anxiety.

Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health condition worldwide, impacting over 301 million individuals. Anxiety affects 1 in 4 Australians at some point in their lives.

Dr. Evangeline Mantzioris, a prominent dietician and researcher at UniSA, asserts that the Mediterranean diet can significantly enhance mental well-being and quality of life.

“Globally, we’re facing an unprecedented aging population, yet despite this longevity, many people continue to struggle with their health and well-being,” says Dr. Mantzioris.

“Lifestyle behaviors, including diet quality, are gaining more attention as modifiable risk factors for poor mental health, with the Mediterranean diet endorsed for reducing chronic disease risk and supporting healthy aging.”

“In this study we showed that when older people adhered to a Mediterranean diet, their symptoms of stress and anxiety declined—and that this occurred regardless of their age, gender, BMI or how much sleep and exercise they were getting.”

“It’s a big tick for the Mediterranean diet—through a relatively easy lifestyle change, people can markedly improve their stress and anxiety levels—who wouldn’t want to give it a go.”

Olive oil, wholegrains and seeds, nuts, legumes, and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables are all part of a Mediterranean diet. Fish and seafood are to be included in your diet at least twice a week, although dairy and lean proteins can be had every day in moderation. Processed foods and red meats should be consumed in moderation according to the diet.

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