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Mood Foods: Could the Mediterranean Diet Help Prevent Depression?

New research from University College London suggests that a Mediterranean diet may help prevent depression. Researchers analyzed data from 41 previous studies examining the link between eating habits and mental health, Yahoo reported. They found that those who followed a Mediterranean-like diet were 33 percent less likely to develop depression in the next eight to 12 years, indicating that the quality of your diet can, indeed, positively influence your mental health.

A number of studies have confirmed the health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet — most of which are likely due to it being low in sugars, moderate in protein and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, along with healthy fats. Eating a Mediterranean-style diet has also been linked to a number of health benefits, including prevention and reversal of metabolic syndrome, improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk for stroke.

Other benefits include reduced risk of adult acne, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and improved overall health and longevity. That said, a primary hallmark of a Mediterranean-style diet is a focus on whole, minimally processed foods. The emphasis on fresh vegetables alone makes it far healthier than the standard American diet, which is very high in processed foods.

This is the basic substance of a ketogenic diet, too, only the emphasis is to burn fat for fuel; by eating a high-quality fat, low-carbohydrate diet, you achieve nutritional ketosis, which is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat rather than glucose as its primary fuel. Once you understand how this works, you will experience fewer hunger pangs and a dramatic drop in food cravings once you've made the shift from burning sugar to burning fat as your primary fuel. Being an efficient fat burner may also boost your longevity.

The most efficient way to train your body to use fat for fuel is to remove most of the sugars and starches from your diet, and that's true for everyone, whether you're an elite athlete or a sedentary diabetic. At the same time, you'll want to replace those carbs with healthy fats.

A dietary intake of about 50 grams or less per day of net carbs while also keeping protein low-to-moderate is usually low enough to allow you to make the shift to nutritional ketosis. Using a nutrient tracker such as the Cronometer.com/Mercola will radically improve your ability to understand how much and what kind of foods help you to keep to your ketogenic diet nutrient targets while also helping you to assess the nutrient value of your food choices.

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