Iranian researchers recently published a study in the Annals of General Psychiatry, showing a connection between diet diversity and severe depression.
The researchers conducted the study on nearly 400 women between the ages of 20 and 49 and living in the Tehran area. They measured depression, anxiety, and stress levels. They also measured dietary intake, specifically dietary diversity.
Dietary diversity measures a person’s access to a variety of foods. Food variety is important because it increases our ability to consume all the nutrients we need and in the quantities we need, both macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals).
This particular study lookd at 9 food groups to determine dietary diversity:
- Dark green leafy vegetables,
- Vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables
- Other fruits and vegetables
- Organ meat
- Meat, fish, and seafood
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Milk and milk products
What the researchers found was that as diet diversity increased among participants, their risk for having severe depression decreased. They also found, interestingly, that as diet diversity increased, consumption of some food groups also increased (milk and dairy products; vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables; dark green leafy vegetables; eggs; and legumes, nuts, and seeds) while consumption of other food groups decreased (meat, fish, and seafood).
This is one more study in a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health.
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