Mental Health Hinges On Diet? Not Quite
I am increasingly seeing more articles supporting the idea of what your body consumes - or more accurately what you body doesn't get or what it doesn't get rid of -- in your diet and daily metabolic processes. The idea that we are living organisms much like a plant in the sense that we try to take care of plants, and botanists know a lot about plants to more accurately care for them. I grew up hearing "food is medicine" but it didn't make sense to me because when I ate what I thought was "good food" and tried to repeat it, I felt good for some time - but when I stopped consuming it for various reasons -- I went back to the 'same old me.' Obviously our lives are not static or 2 dimensional; we are 3 dimensional, highly volatile and changing beings where conditions in our lives change very fast. That "superfood" I was consuming, or that diet I was following found to be hard for me to keep consistent and many people find this to be true. DId you ever stop to think what about that "superfood" or fad diet made it so special in your life? It's mostly psychology and the belief it's doing something for you, but also more importantly exactly how long whatever it is in that food stays in your system. The half-life of the multitude of natural and artificial substances in our foods and daily life vary wildly. A large majority of us do not understand this concept and we see no other way to manipulate our body biochemistry without some kind of religious act of inserting some kind of substance into our mouths as if this practice were some kind of religion.
Your mental health may depend on what’s in your diet
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The old saying goes “you are what you eat,” but a recent study finds it may be more accurate to say your mood is what you eat. Researchers from Binghamton University find people can optimize their mental health through diet and lifestyle changes.
“There is increasing evidence that diet plays a major role in improving mental health, but everyone is talking about a healthy diet,” says Lina Begdache, an assistant professor of health and wellness studies and co-author of the study, in a media release.
“We need to consider a spectrum of dietary and lifestyle changes based on different age groups and gender. There is not one healthy diet that will work for everyone. There is not one fix,” Begdache adds.
According to the dietician, mental health therapies should take into account brain maturity changes that take place in people between 18 and 29, and those older than 30. Additionally, the structure of the brain is different between men and women and should also play a role in formulating a dieting plan.
Different diets for different people
The study lasted for five years, with researchers analyzing the diets, exercise routines, and lifestyles of 2,600 participants. The group also completed questionnaires at various times and seasons for data collection. Each group of participants revealed key dietary and lifestyle changes which corresponded to periods of anxiety and even depression.
Results indicated that eating breakfast daily, getting moderate exercise frequently, and keeping fast food and caffeine consumption down improved the mental health of young women. In mature women, the same applied with the addition of high consumption of fruits daily.
In young men, daily exercise coupled with dairy and meat consumption increased mental health, along with a low intake of fast food and caffeine. The same applied to mature men with an additional intake of nuts daily.
“Young adults are still forming new connections between brain cells as well as building structures; therefore, they need more energy and nutrients to do that,” Begdache says.
With these results in mind, study authors say young adults experience mental distress if they have nutritional deficiencies and poor diets. Additionally, caffeine causes mental distress in younger adults.