Does the MIND diet decrease depression risk? A comparison with Mediterranean diet in the SUN cohort



To prospectively evaluate the association of the Mediterranean-DASH diet intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) diet and the Mediterranean diet (and their components), and depression risk.


We followed-up (median 10.4 years) 15,980 adults initially free of depression at baseline or in the first 2 years of follow-up. Food consumption was measured at baseline through a validated food-frequency questionnaire, and was used to compute adherence to the MIND and the Mediterranean diets. Relationships between these two diets and incident depression were assessed through Cox regression models.


We identified 666 cases of incident depression. Comparing the highest versus the lowest quartiles of adherence, we found no association of the MIND diet and incident depression. This relation was statistically significant for the Mediterranean diet {hazard ratio (HR) 0.75, [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.61, 0.94]; p < 0.01}, although with departure from linearity. A reduced depression risk was associated with higher consumption of both fruits and nuts [HR 0.82 (95% CI 0.69, 0.96); p = 0.02], moderate nuts consumption [HR 0.77 (95% CI 0.64, 0.93); p = 0.01], and avoidance of fast/fried food [HR 0.63 (95% CI 0.41, 0.96); p = 0.03].


The Mediterranean diet was associated with reduced depression risk, but we found no evidence of such an association for the MIND diet.

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We would like to thank the participants of the SUN cohort for their continuous involvement in the project and all members of the SUN study for their support and collaboration.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ujué Fresán.

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Financial support

The Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) Project has received funding from the Spanish Government-Instituto de Salud Carlos III, and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER: MAMG) [CIBER-OBN (MAMG), PI10/02293 (MBR), PI13/00615 (MBR), PI14/01668 (MBR), and G03/140 (MAMG)], the Navarra Regional Government [45/2011(MBR), 122/2014 (MBR)], and the University of Navarra.

Ethical standards

During recruitment, potential participants were provided details about the study and what participation entails. They were also aware that they could withdraw from the study anytime without any adverse consequence. Voluntary completion of the baseline questionnaire was considered consent to participate. Details regarding the cohort have been previously reported. The Research Ethics Committee of the University of Navarra approved the study.

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Fresán, U., Bes-Rastrollo, M., Segovia-Siapco, G. et al. Does the MIND diet decrease depression risk? A comparison with Mediterranean diet in the SUN cohort. Eur J Nutr 58, 1271–1282 (2019).

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  • MIND diet
  • Mediterranean diet
  • SUN project
  • Depression risk