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Traditional Iranian medicinal foods for depressed patients



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Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014 Jul;4(4):225-30.  Omega-3 and omega-6 content of medicinal foods for depressed patients: implications from the Iranian Traditional Medicine.  Tavakkoli-Kakhki M1, Motavasselian M2, Mosaddegh M3, Esfahani MM2, Kamalinejad M4, Nematy M5, Eslami S6.

OBJECTIVES:  Considering the increasing prevalence of depression in modern societies and the positive effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on depression, this study aims to investigate the omega-3 and omega-6 content of various foodstuffs, prescribed or prohibited by Iranian Traditional Medicine (ITM).

MATERIALS AND METHODS:  Firstly, reliable sources of Iranian Traditional Medicine were reviewed in order to identify the prescribed and prohibited foodstuffs for depressed patients. Afterwards, according to the online database of United States Department of Agriculture (URL: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list), the ratio of linoleic acid to alpha linolenic acid (as representatives of omega-6 and omega-3, respectively) was identified in each foodstuff. Finally, the ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 were compared between seven food groups of vegetables, fruits, dry goods, high protein products, dairies, breads, and spices.

RESULTS:  Based on the resources of Iranian Traditional Medicine, the following foods are prescribed for depressed patients: basil, coriander, spinach, lettuce, squash, peppermint, dill, chicory, celery, beet, quince, cucumber, watermelon, grape, peach, pomegranate, banana, apple, currant, pistachio, dried fig, almond, egg, chicken, lamb, trout, milk, bread without bran, saffron, oregano, and coriander seeds. On the other hand, cabbage, eggplant, onion, garlic, broad beans, lentils, beef, whole wheat bread, and mustard are prohibited. It should be noted that omega-3 content in some prescribed foods is more than that of the prohibited ones.

CONCLUSION:  The present study showed that mint, basil, spinach, lettuce, squash, lamb, saffron, oregano, cucumber, pistachio, milk, and also wild trout can be considered as medicinal foods for depressed patients.

PMID: 25068136

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