Mental distress and exercise frequency were associated with different dietary and lifestyle patterns
According to new research from Binghamton University in the US, women’s mental health likely has a higher association with dietary factors than men’s.
Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, had previously published research on diet and mood that suggests that a high-quality diet improves mental health. She wanted to test whether customisation of diet improves mood among men and women ages 30 or older.
Along with research assistant Cara M Patrissy, Begdache dissected the different food groups that are associated with mental distress in men and women ages 30 years and older, as well as studied the different dietary patterns in relation to exercise frequency 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 exercise frequency were associated with different dietary and lifestyle patterns, which support the concept of customised diet and lifestyle factors to improve mental wellbeing.
“We found a general relationship between eating healthy, following healthy dietary practices, exercise and mental well-being,” said Begdache. “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.”
This research provides the framework needed for healthcare professionals for customising dietary plans to promote exercise and improve mental well-being in mature adults, said Begdache.
The researchers are conducting a parallel study with young men and women, looking at diet quality in addition to sleep and seasonal change variables from a longitudinal perspective.