According to new research from Binghamton University, the State University of New York, women’s mental health is more likely to be linked to dietary factors than men’s.
Dr. Lina Begdache, Asst Prof. of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University has previously published research on diet and mood that suggests that a high-quality diet can help with mental health.
She wanted to test whether the customization of diet improves mood among men and women ages 30 or older.
Dr. Begdache and the research assistant Dr. Cara M. Patrissy have dissected the different food groups that are linked to mental discomfort in men and women aged 30 and up, as well as studied the different dietary patterns about exercise frequency and mental distress.
The results suggest that women’s mental health is more closely linked to dietary factors than men’s. Mental discomfort and exercise frequency were associated with different dietary and lifestyle patterns, which support the concept of customized diet and lifestyle factors to improve mental health.
Dr. Begdache stated that “we found a general relationship between eating healthy, following healthy dietary practices, exercise, and mental well-being.”
“Interestingly, we found that for unhealthy dietary patterns, the level of mental distress was higher in women than in men, which confirmed that women are more susceptible to unhealthy eating than men,” Dr. Begdache added.
Based on this study and others, diet and exercise may be the first line of defense against mental distress in mature women, she pointed out.
“Fast food, skipping breakfast, caffeine, and high-glycemic (HG) food are all associated with mental distress in mature women,” said Dr. Begdache.
She also stated that “Fruits and dark green leafy vegetables (DGLV) are associated with mental well-being. The extra information we learned from this study is that exercise significantly reduced the negative association of HG food and fast food with mental distress.”
According to Dr. Begdache, this research provides the basis for healthcare professionals to customize dietary plans to increase exercise and improve mental well-being in elderly persons. It could also provide a new perspective for the research community when evaluating the role of diet on mental distress.