Mediterranean diet and depression among older individuals: The multinational MEDIS study

Exp Gerontol. 2018 Sep;110:67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2018.05.012. Epub 2018 May 26.


Background: Depression has been linked to a large and growing economic and societal burden worldwide. In Europe, depression is one of the most frequent mental disorders across all age groups, but particularly in people aged 65 years and over, and higher depressive symptoms have been reported among individuals with chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes and heart disease).

Aim: To evaluate the role of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) in depression in a sample of older people living in the Mediterranean basin.

Methods: Standard procedures were used to determine socio-demographic, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics of the participants, as well as their dietary habits, and depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Multi-adjusted logistic and linear regression analyses were carried out to evaluate the associations between participants' characteristics and depression.

Results: Participants classified as having mild or severe depression were less educated and physically active, and more diabetic, and they reported less adherence to the MedDiet. Adherence to the MedDiet was associated with the absence of depression [(OR, 95% CI): 0.65, 0.50-0.85]. In addition, daily tea drinking was also related to the absence of depression [(OR, 95% CI): 0.51, 0.40-0.65].

Conclusions: Greater adherence to the MedDiet and daily tea drinking seem to have a beneficial effect on depressive symptoms in older adults.

Keywords: Depression; Mediterranean diet; Older adults; Tea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Region / epidemiology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Tea*


  • Tea