Women’s mental health likely has a higher association with dietary factors than men’s, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, previously published research on diet and mood that suggests that high-quality eating improves mental health. She wanted to test whether diet personalization improves mood in men and women aged 30 or older.
With research assistant Cara M. Patrissy, Begdache dissected the different food groups associated with mental distress in men and women aged 30 and over, and studied different eating patterns in relation to frequency. exercise and mental distress. The results suggest that women’s mental health has a higher association with dietary factors than that of men. Mental distress and frequency of exercise were associated with different eating and lifestyle patterns, which support the concept of customizing diet and lifestyle factors to improve mental well-being.
“We found a general relationship between healthy eating, following healthy eating practices, exercise, and mental well-being,” Begdache said. “Interestingly, we found that for unhealthy eating habits, the level of mental distress was higher in women than in men, which confirmed that women are more likely than men to eat poorly. “
Based on this study and others, diet and exercise may be the first line of defense against mental distress in mature women, Begdache said.
“Fast food, skipping breakfast, caffeine, and high glycemic index (HG) foods are all associated with mental distress in mature women,” Begdache said. “Dark green leafy fruits and vegetables (DGLV) are associated with mental well-being. The additional information we learned from this study is that exercise significantly reduced the negative association of HG food and fast food with mental distress, ”Begadache said.
This research provides the framework for healthcare professionals to personalize eating plans to promote exercise and improve mental well-being in mature adults, Begdache said. It could also offer a new perspective to the research community when evaluating the role of diet on mental distress.
Researchers are conducting a parallel study with young men and women, examining diet quality in addition to sleep variables and seasonal changes from a longitudinal perspective.
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