In a new study from Aston University, scientists found that frequently eating fruits can make you feel better, while tasty but less healthy snacks such as potato chips may cause psychological harm and memory problems.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Having good mental health is about feeling positive about ourselves and others, being able to form good relationships, and having the resilience to overcome challenges.
Someone who has good mental health will likely be able to feel, express, and manage a range of positive and negative emotions.
There is growing interest in the link between diet and psychological health.
But there is a surprising lack of studies examining the precise associations between nutrient-rich foods (such as fruit and vegetables) v. nutrient-poor foods (such as energy-dense savory and sweet snacks), and psychological health.
Similarly, the psychological processes underpinning the link between dietary intake and psychological health is unclear.
In the current study, researchers aimed to explore the link between dietary intake and psychological health.
They tested 428 healthy adults. These participants completed several questionnaires to report their dietary habits and psychological health.
The team found that a more frequent intake of fruit was linked to reduced symptoms of depression and better psychological well-being.
On the contrary, more frequent savory snacking was linked to increased anxiety.
The team also found that more frequent intake of savory snacks was linked to increased symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and worse3 psychological wellbeing.
The participants experienced an increase in cognitive failures.
The researchers say that these results provide new insights into the associations between certain types of food and psychological health, and the psychological mechanisms that may mediate these.
Further work is needed to determine whether these may represent modifiable dietary targets that can directly (and indirectly) influence our psychological health.
The study was conducted by Nicola-Jayne Tuck et al and published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Copyright © 2022 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.