It is well known that older adults with cardiovascular risk factors are more likely to experience depression than others. However, research has shown that dietary modification could help lower depression risk in this group.
Researchers analysed data on 964 people with a mean age of 81 years who were followed up annually for a mean of 6.5 years as part of a prospective cohort study
. Depression was defined as the presence of four or more depressive symptoms.
It was found that people whose diet fit more closely to a DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet, involving high levels of vegetables and grains and low levels of sugar and saturated fat, had lower rates of depression than those who did not follow the diet closely. By contrast, a Western diet, high in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables, was associated with an increased risk of depression.
The researchers, who reported their findings at the American Academy of Neurology 70th Annual Meeting, said the results suggest that dietary interventions could help prevent depression in older adults.
 Cherian L, Wang Y, Holland T et al. Dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet associated with lower rates of depression. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; 21–27 April 2018; Los Angeles, California. Abstract available at: https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/GetDigitalAsset/12662