Saturday, October 10, 2009

More "Mediterranean diet" crap

This probably just shows that country people were less depressed. Country people would be more likely to be sticking to their traditional diet and probably have fewer stresses

People who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables and cereals may be less likely to develop depression, Spanish researchers have found. The prevalence of mental disorders is lower in Mediterranean countries than in countries in Northern Europe. Dietary differences, such as use of olive oil, may be the reason, [And they may not. More likely it is the closer family ties there] the researchers said.

To find out more, Almudena S├ínchez-Villegas and colleagues at the clinic of the University of Navarra, in Pamplona, studied 10,094 healthy Spaniards who filled in questionnaires. Participants were followed for an average of 4½ years.

Those who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a more than 30 per cent reduction in risk of depression compared with those who ate diets with the fewest hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet, the team reported in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Other factors such as marital status, number of children and factors associated with a healthy diet, as well as personality traits such as anxiety were taken into account. Over the study period, 480 new cases of depression were identified — 156 in men and 324 in women. "The specific mechanisms by which a better adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern could help to prevent the occurrence of depression are not well known," [Because they don't exist?] the study's authors concluded.

They speculated that elements of the diet or the combination of foods may improve blood vessel function, fight inflammation and reduce oxygen-related cell damage to reduce the risk of developing depression.

The Mediterranean diet includes nine features, including:

* A high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil.

* A moderate intake of alcohol and dairy products.

* A low intake of meat.

* A high intake of legumes, fruit and nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish.

In particular, people who ate the most fruits, nuts and legumes showed the lowest risks for depression. Participants who had a strong adherence to the diet tended to be more physically active, male, former smokers, married and older.

Last year, Dutch researchers suggested depression in older people may be linked to low levels of Vitamin D, which is obtained from sun exposure.


Importance of salt recognized officially in Australia

BREAD sold in Australia must contain iodised rather than ordinary salt from today. Bakers are required to use only salt with the added essential nutrient, in a move by health officials to address the re-emergence of iodine deficiency in Australia.

"Iodine is particularly important for the normal development of a baby's brain and nervous system," said Dr Paul Brent, chief scientist for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). "Not having enough iodine during pregnancy and early childhood can cause developmental delays and lead to reductions in mental performance ... this damage prior to 2-3 years of age is irreversible." Dr Brent said adults also needed iodine to ensure the healthy function of their thyroid gland, to help it produce hormones that regulate metabolism and body temperature.

Iodine is also found in fish, seafood, dairy products and eggs, and a constant dietary intake is required, Dr Brent said, as the human body did not store iodine in large amounts. "Mandatory iodine fortification (of bread) is expected to reduce inadequate iodine intakes from 43 per cent to less than five per cent of the Australian population," he said.

The Australian Thyroid Foundation (ATF) said the move was a welcome first step, coming after the issue of iodine deficiency had been "overlooked and ignored ... by Australian public health authorities". "Whilst the mandatory fortification of iodised salt in bread is a step in the right direction and will improve the situation ... it will not fix iodine deficiency in this country," said ATF's chief medical adviser Creswell Eastman.

Prof Eastman said the salt in other staples - such as biscuits and cereals - should also be switched to iodised salt to "ensure all Australians are able to receive adequate levels of iodine needed for good brain development and function and good thyroid health". Adults need 150 micrograms of iodine daily, he said, while a child needs 120 micrograms and for pregnant women the required intake increases to 250 micrograms.

Prof Eastman said the move to fortify bread would raise an average Australian's intake of iodine by about 46 micrograms daily. "Low iodine intake is one of the most important international public health issues, often resulting in lower IQs amongst children and difficulties in conceiving among women," he said.

The move on iodine comes after mandatory folic acid fortification was also introduced to Australia's bread supply last month. The nation's bakers were required to add a small amount of folic acid to their products from September 13, to address a deficiency that poses a particular risk to foetal development during pregnancy.

Organic bakers are exempt from the changes, and their bread products are not required to include either iodised salt or folic acid.


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