The Mental Health Diet and How You Can Eat Better for Your Brain

Blog Category: Health

“You are what you eat” is an old saying, however recent research finds that it may be accurate to say your mood is largely based on what you eat. Though we already know diet can affect the development of dementia, some research suggests that you can alter your mood based on your diet and optimize your mental health with diet and lifestyle changes. Thus was born the mental health diet.

The Mental Health Diet

While healthy diets are obviously a great thing to strive for, we must now consider the entire dietary spectrum based on age and gender. There is not one healthy diet that fits all people, but rather a wide range of diets that could help individuals.

It is important that mental health care includes an in-depth look at the patient’s diet to eliminate certain mood issues that can arise based on the foods you eat. One study found several key factors between diet and mental health:

Young Women

  • Significant dietary and lifestyle approaches to improve mental well-being among young women include daily breakfast consumption, moderate-to-high exercise frequency, low caffeine intake, and abstinence from fast food.

Mature Women

  • Dietary and lifestyle approaches to improve mental well-being among mature women include daily exercise and breakfast consumption, as well as a high intake of fruits with limited caffeine ingestion.

Young Men

  • To improve the mental well-being of young men, dietary and lifestyle approaches include frequent exercise, moderate dairy consumption, high meat intake, as well as low consumption of caffeine, and abstinence from fast food.

Mature Men

  • Dietary approaches to improve mental well-being among mature men include a moderate intake of nuts.

Different Diets for Different People

The above study lasted for five years and included 2,600 participants. As part of the study, the participants also completed questionnaires at different points in the season. Each group revealed crucial dietary and lifestyle changes which were found to correspond with certain shifts in mood including anxiety and depression.

With these studies in mind, the authors state that adults experience mental distress if they have nutrient deficiencies and poor diets.  

Designing Custom Diets for Men and Women

The study also found that men were less affected by diet than women. With men, as long as they eat a reasonably healthy diet they will likely have good mental health. It’s only when men start eating a lot of fast food that we begin to see mental distress.

Women on the other hand need to consume a whole spectrum of healthy foods and regular exercise in order to maintain positive mental health. 

With the current dietary system, recommendations are made based only on a person’s physical health and not their minds. However, with more research, we may be able to make dietary recommendations based on psychological needs.

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