Women of all ages should make sure they eat breakfast every day to improve their mental wellbeing, according to a new study.
There has been increasing evidence to show that a person’s diet plays a major role in improving their mental health, but research is mostly focused on “a healthy diet” when Lina Begdache, an assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, believes “a spectrum of dietary and lifestyle changes” should be considered based on a person’s age and gender.
“There is not one healthy diet that will work for everyone. There is not one fix,” she stated.
With this in mind, Begdache and her research team conducted a survey over a five-year period, with more than 2,600 participants completing the questionnaire about food intake, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.
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They found that young women should consume breakfast daily, have a moderate-to-high exercise frequency, a low caffeine intake, and abstain from fast food to improve their mental wellbeing, while mature women should eat breakfast and exercise daily, limit their caffeine consumption, and have a high intake of fruit.
To improve wellbeing in young men, the findings showed they should exercise frequently, have a moderate consumption of dairy products, low consumption of caffeine, high meat intake, and abstain from fast food, while the mature man should make sure his diet features a moderate intake of nuts.
Young adults who consume a poor-quality diet and experience nutritional deficiencies may suffer from a higher degree of mental distress, while Begdache also found that men are less likely to be affected by their diet than women.
“As long as they (men) eat a slightly healthy diet they will have good mental well-being. It’s only when they consume mostly fast food that we start seeing mental distress,” she explained. “Women, on the other hand, really need to be consuming a whole spectrum of healthy food and doing exercise in order to have positive mental well-being.”
The findings have been published in the journal Nutrients.