Nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet may improve depression

In April 2019, researchers from the United States published a study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, showing a connection between diet and depression.

The researchers recruited 71 participants, who then attended the following sessions over a period of 6 months:

  • A 6-hour introductory session
  • Weekly 1-hour meetings for 7 consecutive weeks
  • Monthly 1-hour meetings, for 4 consecutive months

During these sessions, participants took part in a combined 14 hours of in-person lectures regarding eating a micronutrient-dense plant-rich diet (mNDPR). They also received materials to take home and obtained access to electronic support materials.

What the researchers found was that after the 6 months on the mNDPR diet, participants saw not only a significant improvement in physical health measures (such as weight, waist circumference, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, hemoglobin, and acid reflux), but also lower depression levels and improved sleep quality.

So what is the mNDPR diet? The researchers outlined 5 qualities of this diet:

  1. Micronutrient rich: More foods with high levels of plant-derived phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  2. Nutritionally adequate and diverse
  3. Hormonally favorable
    • Avoid foods with high glycemic index
    • Minimize animal protein
  4. Regular intake
    • Emphasis on meals and not snacks
    • Overnight fast of at least 12 hours
  5. Special focus on GBOMBS + T:
    • Greens
    • Beans
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Berries
    • Seeds/nuts
    • Plus tomatoes

This is one more study in a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.