Dietary Fibre and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents With Olivia Swann


Olivia Swann


Let me introduce you to our guest, Olivia Swann.

This week Olivia Swann shares the results of her PhD where she looked at dietary fibre intake and its association with inflammation and depression in adolescents. This is important work because, according to the Black Dog Institute, one in four young people aged 16-24 are living with a mental disorder. Most research about diet and mental health has focussed on adults; Olivia was keen to conduct research on this topic in adolescents and see if what they eat, in this case, dietary fibre, impacts depressive symptoms.

We preface our discussion with some information about dietary fibre, what the known health benefits are and the recommended amounts we should consume. Olivia analysed the diets of adolescents and found, not surprisingly, that the majority of teenagers do not eat enough dietary fibre, not even close to it! Check out my Five Minute Food Facts podcast about dietary fibre for some general information about the sources and health benefits of fibre (link below).

Overall, Olivia found that high dietary fibre intake was associated with lower odds of depressive symptoms (but this is hard to separate from the effect of the whole diet as often a diet high in fibre, is healthy in other ways too).

Kids and teens, eat your greens!



There are also some excellent websites designed for young people, as well as online and telephone counselling services. These include:

  • Kids Helpline (counselling service) 1800 55 1800.
  • MindSpot Clinic (anyone suffering from anxiety or depression) — call 1800 61 44 34.
  • Beyond Blue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by depression and extreme mood swings) — online help.
  • Lifeline (anyone experiencing a crisis or thinking about suicide) — call 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467.

I hope that you enjoy this episode as much as I did making it, and don’t be shy, let me know what you think!

Follow Olivia Swann online

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