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Your Mood Depends on the Food You Eat, and What You Should Eat Changes as You Age

Summary: Binghampton researchers report on how the foods we eat can affect our mental wellbeing, and how our dietary needs change as we age.

Source: Binghampton University.

Diet and dietary practices differentially affect mental health in young adults versus older adults, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, along with fellow Binghamton researchers, conducted an anonymous internet survey, asking people around the world to complete the Food-Mood Questionnaire (FMQ), which includes questions on food groups that have been associated with neurochemistry and neurobiology. Analyzing the data, Begdache and Assistant Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Nasim Sabounchi found that mood in young adults (18-29) seems to be dependent on food that increases availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain (meat). However, mood in mature adults (over 30 years) may be more reliant on food that increases availability of antioxidants (fruits) and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system (coffee, high glycemic index and skipping breakfast).

“One of the major findings of this paper is that diet and dietary practices differentially affect mental health in young adults versus mature adults,” said Begdache. “Another noteworthy finding is that young adult mood appears to be sensitive to build-up of brain chemicals. Regular consumption of meat leads to build-up of two brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) known to promote mood. Regular exercise leads to build-up of these and other neurotransmitters as well. In other words, young adults who ate meat (red or white) less than three times a week and exercised less than three times week showed a significant mental distress.”

a plate of food

“Conversely, mature adult mood seems to be more sensitive to regular consumption of sources of antioxidants and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the innate fight-or-flight response (commonly known as the stress response),” added Begdache. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

“Conversely, mature adult mood seems to be more sensitive to regular consumption of sources of antioxidants and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the innate fight-or-flight response (commonly known as the stress response),” added Begdache. “With aging, there is an increase in free radical formation (oxidants), so our need for antioxidants increases. Free radicals cause disturbances in the brain, which increases the risk for mental distress. Also, our ability to regulate stress decreases, so if we consume food that activates the stress response (such as coffee and too much carbohydrates), we are more likely to experience mental distress.”

Begdache and her team are interested in comparing dietary intake between men and women in relation to mental distress. There is a gender difference in brain morphology which may be also sensitive to dietary components, and may potentially explain some the documented gender-specific mental distress risk, said Begdache.

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Lina Begdache – Binghampton University
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Assessment of dietary factors, dietary practices and exercise on mental distress in young adults versus matured adults: A cross-sectional study” by Lina Begdache, Maher Chaar, Nasim Sabounchi, & Hamed Kianmehr in Nutritional Neuroscience. Published online December 11 2017 doi:10.1080/1028415X.2017.1411875

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Binghampton University “Your Mood Depends on the Food You Eat, and What You Should Eat Changes as You Age.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 12 December 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/aging-diet-mood-8176/>.
Binghampton University (2017, December 12). Your Mood Depends on the Food You Eat, and What You Should Eat Changes as You Age. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved December 12, 2017 from http://neurosciencenews.com/aging-diet-mood-8176/
Binghampton University “Your Mood Depends on the Food You Eat, and What You Should Eat Changes as You Age.” http://neurosciencenews.com/aging-diet-mood-8176/ (accessed December 12, 2017).

Abstract

Assessment of dietary factors, dietary practices and exercise on mental distress in young adults versus matured adults: A cross-sectional study

The importance of the diet in modulating mental health is uncovering as many dietary factors have been described to alter brain chemistry. Brain maturation may not complete until the age of 30 which may explain the differential emotional control, mindset, and resilience between young adults and matured adults. As a result, dietary factors may influence mental health differently in these two populations.

Objectives: To study dietary intake, dietary practices and exercise in young adults (YA) (18–29 years) versus matured adults (MA) (30 years and older) in relation to mental distress. Another aim was to assess whether mental well-being potentially stimulates healthy eating, healthy practices, and exercising.

Methods: An anonymous internet-based survey was sent through social media platforms to different professional and social group networks. Best-fit models were constructed using the backward regression analysis to assess the relationship between dietary variables, exercise, and mental distress in YA versus MA.

Results: YA mood seems to be dependent on food that increases availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain (such as frequent meat consumption and exercise, respectively). However, MA mood may be more reliant on food that increases availability of antioxidants (fruits) and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system (coffee, high glycemic index, and skipping breakfast).

Discussion and conclusion: Level of brain maturation and age-related changes in brain morphology and functions may necessitate dietary adjustments for improving mental well-being.

“Assessment of dietary factors, dietary practices and exercise on mental distress in young adults versus matured adults: A cross-sectional study” by Lina Begdache, Maher Chaar, Nasim Sabounchi, & Hamed Kianmehr in Nutritional Neuroscience. Published online December 11 2017 doi:10.1080/1028415X.2017.1411875

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