When I was in outpatient clinical practice, we employed a clinical dietitian to work with the parents of our younger patients specifically to increase their intake of brain-healthy nutrients and limit their exposure to simple carbohydrates and processed or unhealthy fried foods. While gaining cooperation of parents or our teenage/young adult patients was the major hurdle, even when we made the nutritional consultation and coaching free of charge, once overcome, we saw consistent results in academic performance and measures of improved self-image with reduction of clinical symptoms as well, much more so than with medication of psychotherapy alone.
The benefits of the Mediterranean Diet in terms of overall health are well known. Here is a study that demonstrates its benefits to depressed teenage and young adult males summarized in the newsletter from The Partnership For Male Youth (reproduced by permission):
Web MD, May 11, 2022
"Young men with a poor diet reported a decrease in symptoms of depression when they switched to the Mediterranean diet compared to young men who underwent befriending therapy, a new study shows. Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney observed 72 men aged 18-25 over 12 weeks, according to the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Some were put on the Mediterranean diet, which usually involves eating lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of meat and dairy, and red wine. The control group was given befriending therapy, in which they were provided social support. Assessments were taken at the start of the study and after six and 12 weeks. The young men on the Mediterranean diet measured “significantly higher” on the Beck Depression Inventory Scale and a quality-of-life measurement, the study says. The finding suggests doctors and psychologists should consider referring depressed young men to a nutritionist or dietitian, Jessica Bayes, the lead researcher and a doctorate candidate at the UTS Faculty of Health, said in a school news release."