A recently published study revealed that the mental health of women is more likely to have a higher association with dietary factors than men. The research paper, ‘Customization of Diet May Promote Exercise and Improve Mental Wellbeing in Mature Adults: The Role of Exercise as a Mediator,’ was published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine and emphasised on Mental distress and exercise frequency being associated with different dietary and lifestyle patterns. This supports the concept of customising your diet and lifestyle in order to improve your mental wellbeing.
Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, along with research assistant Cara M. Patrissy dissected the several food groups that are associated with causing mental distress in people ages 30 years and older. They 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,” said Begdache.
According to her, fast food, skipping breakfast, caffeine and high-glycemic (HG) food are all associated with mental distress in mature women whereas fruits and dark green leafy vegetables (DGLV) are associated with mental well-being. Additional information in the study stated that exercising significantly reduced the negative association of HG food and fast food with mental distress. In Begdache’s own words, diet and exercise may be the first line of defence against mental distress in mature women.
The research has created a framework much needed by healthcare professionals for customising dietary plans in order to promote exercise and improve mental well-being in mature adults, especially women. It also provides a fresh perspective to the research community when assessing the role of diet on mental distress.
Begdache has previously published research on diet and mood that suggests that a high-quality diet improves mental health. This time, however, her aim was to test whether customisation of diet improves mood among men and women ages 30 or older. Currently, a parallel research with young men and women is being conducted by the researchers, looking at diet quality in addition to sleep and seasonal change variables from a longitudinal perspective.