Previous studies have shown that unhealthy dietary patterns are among the most important modifiable risk factors in the development of mental health disorders. We examined the association of dietary phytochemical index (DPI) with symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress in Iranian women. In this cross-sectional study, a total of 488 women aged 20–50 years old attending health centres in the south of Tehran in 2018 were included. A validated and reliable FFQ was used for dietary assessment. Symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress were assessed using a validated depression, anxiety, stress scales questionnaires with twenty-one-items. DPI was estimated using the following formula: (daily energy derived from phytochemical-rich foods (kJ)/total daily energy intake (kJ))×100. The mean age of the study participants was 31·9 (sd 7·7) years. The prevalence of depressive symptoms, anxiety and psychological distress among study participants was 34·6, 40·6 and 42·4 %, respectively. After controlling for potential confounders, women in the highest tertile of DPI had a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms (OR 0·22; 95 % CI 0·12, 0·38) and anxiety (OR 0·33; 95 % CI 0·20, 0·55), as well as psychological distress (OR 0·30; 95 % CI 0·18, 0·49) compared with those in the lowest tertile. In conclusion, we found a significant association between DPI and mental health in women. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.