Healthy and Unhealthy Dietary Patterns Are Related to Depression: A Case-Control Study

Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability around the world. Depression, based on WHO report, is the fourth most common global burden of all diseases, which might turn into the second most common global burden by the year 2020.

Major depression contains five of the following symptoms, for at least 2 weeks:

  • sad or blue, feeling depressed
  • increased or decreased sleeping
  • absence of interest or enjoyment
  • increased or decreased appetite together with weight change
  • feeling of worthlessness or guilt
  • feeling agitated, feeling unsettled or slowness
  • low energy
  • difficulty in concentration
  • feeling that life is worthless.


The main focus of this study is to investigate the relationship between depression and dietary patterns, rather than one or more specific nutrients.

The authors detected two dietary patterns including “Healthy” and “Unhealthy”. They studied the association between depression and dietary patterns. The study found that the odds ratio of depression was decreased by adhering to healthy dietary patterns, and conversely increased by the consumption of unhealthy dietary patterns.

According to previous studies, a number of nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins D, E, B6, B12, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and tryptophan are important in the prevention and treatment of depression. It is noted that all of food groups in healthy dietary pattern including vegetables, fruits, dairy products, nuts, olive oil and green olive, fish, legumes and whole grains are rich in these nutrients.

This study indicates that healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns may be associated with the risk of depression. The results can be used for developing interventions that aim to promote healthy eating for the prevention of depression.

Khosravi M et al. Healthy and Unhealthy Dietary Patterns Are Related to Depression: A Case-Control Study. Psychiatry Investig. 2015 Oct; 12(4): 434–442.

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