The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is as far from a fad diet as you can get. The doctor-recommended diet promotes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meat. Followers try to lower the amount of high-fat dairy, sugar and red meat they eat. The diet has already been linked to a wide range of physical health effects, and a new study has found DASH might offer mental health benefits as well.
Hundreds of studies over the past decades have shown that healthy, whole foods are the perfect fuel for your body. This common-sense approach to eating often got drowned out by fad diets with fancy marketing campaigns. That’s why doctors banded together to make their own diet plan. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends the DASH diet above all others. The marketing has worked; more and more Americans are switching to a DASH diet.
According to the a new study published on Sunday found that senior citizens following the DASH diet were the least likely to develop symptoms of depression out of all patients studied. Researchers followed 964 subjects for about six years. Each participant was divided into one of three groups based on their reporting eating habits: a Traditional Western diet group, a Mediterranean diet group and a group for those following the DASH diet.
Although the participants who ate according to the DASH diet had the lowest risk of developing depression, researchers were quick to point out this is a correlation, not a causation. This long-term study used a cohort model, which is cost effective for lengthy research but can’t prove causality. More elaborate studies using randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, are needed for doctors to advise patients that eating the DASH way will lead to a lower risk for depression.
So far, DASH has been shown to lower rates of cancer, heart attack and stroke. It also reduces bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Even without conclusive evidence that it can cause a lower risk of depression, the DASH diet has so many positive benefits that doctors encourage most patients to consider switching to it.+-+