This Heart-Healthy Diet May Also Lower Your Risk of Depression

DASH Diet depression risk study

We know that the right diet can improve our physical health, but not enough research has been done on the psychological benefits of diet. Now, a DASH Diet depression risk study results in a very hopeful and positive outcome.

The DASH Diet

Developed in the early 1990s for an NIH research study, the DASH diet was originally designed to reduce blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. In the last 20+ years, research has suggested several other benefits, including weight loss, memory improvement, and improved kidney function.

And now a study supported by the National Institute on Aging suggests that the DASH Diet can help prevent depression. Researchers will present the results of the study to the American Academy of Neurology at its annual meeting next month (April 2018).

This DASH diet depression risk study was conducted over a period of 6.5 years. The 964 participants (averaging 81 years) were split into three groups based on how closely they followed the diet. Researchers compared the group following the diet most closely to the group least likely to follow the diet. They found an 11% lowered risk of developing depression in the compliant group.

So What Can You Eat?

The DASH diet table is full of good food:

  • vegetables (3-5 servings),
  • fruits (4-5 servings),
  • grains (6-8 servings),
  • lean meats (3-6 servings),
  • fats and oils (2-3 servings),
  • sweets (0-5 per week), and
  • nuts, seeds, and legumes (3-5 servings per week).
  • If hypertension is an issue, sodium may be limited to 1,500-2,300mg per day.

The number of servings is based on your chosen number of calories per day (shown above are serving counts for 1,600 to 2,000 calories/day).


The DASH Diet is a powerhouse health move. But with the DASH diet depression risk study, we have even more reason to give it a try (even with all those vegetables).

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