A new study has revealed that dietary and lifestyle factors are highly associated with not only our physical health but mental health as well.
The study published in the journal "Nutrients" has found associations between the Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of depression suggesting that following a healthy dietary pattern and lifestyle is associated with the mental wellbeing of young and mature men and women.
The researchers from Binghamton University and Stony Brook University, New York, conducted an online survey that included more than 2,600 participants from across North America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia.
The study aimed to find the food and diet patterns which had a positive and negative impact on the mental wellbeing of people. The participation was voluntary and the participants who responded to a social media post advertising the study were asked to fill out a questionnaire.
The study spanned for 5 years and included 1,147 young women, 628 mature women, 641 young men and 207 mature men.
The study statistics revealed that negative mental impacts were found in both men and women with a high caffeine intake and high-to-moderate fast food consumption.
Young women who ate breakfast frequently and did higher levels of exercise were found to have improved mental well-being. Young men who are reported to indulge in frequent exercise, moderate consumption of dairy and moderate-to-high meat intake also had enhanced well-being.
On the contrary, mature women and mature men who consumed breakfast frequently were linked to a higher rate of mental distress but a high level of exercise had a positive impact on both of them.
Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University and co-author of the study said that scientists need to further investigate the differences in brain maturity between young and mature adults as it will aid in understanding how diet and other factors play a role in mental health.
"Young adults are still forming new connections between brain cells, as well as building structures; therefore, they need more energy and nutrients to do that," she said.