How Does Nutrition Affect Depression?

Team: 11

School: Multi Schools-EH/MH/SH

Area of Science: Mental Health

Interim: How Does Nutrition Affect Depression?
Team Members: Nancy Avila
Gwenevere Caouette
Tiffany Chau
Kyreen White
Teacher(s): Sharee Lunsford
Karen Glennon
Sponsor: Karen Glennon
Patty Meyer
Areas of Science: Mental health

Definition of Problem
We believe that nutrition affects person’s mental health; specifically depression. We will focus on the topic of nutrition and psychology. Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. The prefrontal cortex controls everyday tasks that affect daily life. The prefrontal cortex is affected by the chemical reaction of hormones like endorphins and dopamine. Levels of dopamine and endorphins affect the function of the prefrontal cortex. We will also be focusing on different diets to help control depression. These diets include, The Harvard diet, The Hyman diet, and The DASH diet.
The Harvard Diet: most vegetables, fruit, whole grain, healthy fats, healthy proteins, and replacing sugary drinks with water. This is a diet researched and developed by Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health. The Hyman Diet: a diet which is a cross between paleo and vegan diet. The creator of this diet is Mark Hyman. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet: entirely of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils; limiting foods high in saturated fat. The DASH diet is a diet to help hypertension (which is abnormally high blood pressure).

Coding Plan
We have made minimal progress on the coding portion of our project. Our model will consist of a brain simulation that shows the area of the brain (frontal lobe) that targets where depression happens. It will show how a diet can negatively or positively affect the brain. We are still working on the basics for our code. We are working on a strategic plan for our code. We need help to get our code working in a way that will allow us to receive information from it.

Our Progress
Our team was surprised at the amount of research it would take to understand nutrition and its effects to depression. We needed to answer the question “What is nutrition?” and decided to review how nutrition affects a person’s well being. We have researched the definition of nutrition, depression as a chemical process, outcomes of a diet’s impact on mental health, different nutritional diets (such as the Hyman or Harvard Diets). We plan to extend our research to CT scans in terms of nutrition and depression and different ways to code our NetLogo model.

Expected Results
We expect to improve our knowledge of nutrition and its effect on mental health. To further our project, we will continue gathering information on mental health and the nutritional aspects of our project. We have yet to find out if nutrition has a direct affect on depression, but we do know that the brain needs balanced nutrition to be healthy in order to lower risks of depression.
Page of Reference

Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain ... (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2018, from
Brain Scan May Predict Best Depression Treatment. (2016, April 25). Retrieved from
PET scan of the brain for depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from
PET Scan vs. CT Scan: What's the Difference? - Peninsula Radiology. (2017, August 20). Retrieved from
The DASH diet can help with high-blood pressure. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Geoff Danielson-,, (505) 453- 0415
Lee Danielson PhD, Professor Emeritus- (505) 220-3736

Team Members:

  Tiffany Chau
  Gwenevere Caouette
  Kyreen White
  Nancy Avila

Sponsoring Teacher: Karen Glennon

Mail the entire Team