The Connection Between Food And Mood

What you eat can affect your mood and mental health, but results of a new investigation suggest there’s a difference between the foods younger and older people need to support a positive outlook. Researchers from New York’s Binghamton University conducted an anonymous Internet survey asking people around the world to complete a questionnaire about their eating habits and mindset. The survey was designed to relate food to mood, and focused specifically on food groups linked to changes in brain chemistry. Analysis of the data suggests that mood in young adults ages 18 to 29 depends on consuming meat, which leads to the production of serotonin and dopamine, brain chemicals known to influence mood. Exercise also has this effect. The researchers found that young adults who consumed either red or white meat less than 3 times a week and exercised less than 3 times a week reported experiencing significant mental distress.

The study also showed that individuals age 30 and older appeared to need fruits and other foods that increase the availability of antioxidants. The investigators suggested that positive mindset in this age group was best supported by avoiding coffee and foods high on the glycemic index and by not skipping breakfast, all of which can activate the stress response and make mental distress more likely.

Also in this week’s bulletin:

Lina Begdache et al, “Assessment of dietary factors, dietary practices and exercise on mental distress in young adults versus matured adults: A cross-sectional study.” Nutritional Neuroscience, December 11, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1411875

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