Species richness linked to a healthy diet (journal)

Dietary species richness as a measure of food biodiversity and nutritional quality of diets

Biodiversity is key for human and environmental health. Available dietary and ecological indicators are not designed to assess the intricate relationship between food biodiversity and diet quality. The authors applied biodiversity indicators to dietary intake data and assessed associations with diet quality of women and young children. Data from 24-hour diet recalls of 6,226 participants (34% women) in rural areas from seven low- and middle-income countries were analyzed. A total of 234 different species were consumed, of which <30% were consumed in more than one country. Compared with Simpson’s index of diversity and functional diversity, species richness (SR) showed stronger associations and better diagnostic properties with micronutrient adequacy. For every additional species consumed, dietary nutrient adequacy increased by 0.03 (P < 0.001). Dietary SR is recommended as the most appropriate measure of food biodiversity in diets.