Plant-based diet could help improve mood health, shows study

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Mood health refers to the state of a person’s emotional and mental well-being.

It encompasses how we feel and think about ourselves and the world around us, as well as our ability to cope with stress and handle life’s challenges.

Poor mood health can lead to a range of negative outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

It can also impact our physical health, leading to an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Scientists from King’s College London and elsewhere found that eating a plant-based diet may improve the mood in healthy people.

A plant-based diet is a dietary pattern that emphasizes the consumption of whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, while minimizing or avoiding animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs.

Plant-based diets come in many forms, ranging from strict vegan diets that exclude all animal products to more flexible diets that include small amounts of animal products, such as the Mediterranean diet.

Plant-based diets have been associated with a range of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity.

In addition, plant-based diets may also help promote environmental sustainability by reducing the carbon footprint associated with animal agriculture.

Eating a plant-based diet is often recommended for overall health and well-being.

Previous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, can help improve mood symptoms and prevent cognitive decline as we age.

However, researchers wanted to know if there are other plant-based diets that may be linked to better mood in the general population.

They evaluated 333 healthy participants from a wide age range (8 to 79) who had previously participated in dietary intervention studies.

To measure mood, the researchers used a questionnaire called the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), which asked participants how they felt during the past week.

The researchers also collected data on participants’ diets using the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ).

The researchers looked at several plant-based dietary patterns, including the Plant-based Diet Index (PDI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet (DASH), the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND), the Original Mediterranean Diet (oMED), and the Alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMED).

The results showed that four of the dietary patterns (PDI, DASH, oMED, and aMED) were associated with positive mood, but not negative mood.

After adjusting for factors like sex and age, only the oMED and aMED dietary patterns remained significantly associated with positive mood.

Interestingly, the relationship between PDI and positive mood was only significant in children. This suggests that age may play a role in how different plant-based diets affect mood.

In summary, this study suggests that following the oMED and aMED diets may be linked to better mood in healthy adults.

More research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine if there are other dietary patterns that may also improve mood.

Nonetheless, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet can offer numerous benefits for overall health and well-being, including a potentially positive impact on mood.

It’s important to note that plant-based diets can still be unhealthy if they are heavily processed or lacking in key nutrients, such as protein, iron, and vitamin B12.

Therefore, it’s important to ensure that a plant-based diet is balanced and provides all of the necessary nutrients for good health.

Other lifestyle factors that can support mood health include regular physical activity, stress management techniques like mindfulness or meditation, social support, and getting enough sleep.

In cases where mood health issues are more severe, seeking professional help from a mental health provider may be necessary.

The research was published in Food & Function and was conducted by Xuemei Ma et al.

If you care about depression, please read studies about how dairy foods may influence depression risk, and B vitamins could help prevent depression and anxiety.

For more information about mental health, please see recent studies that ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed, and extra-virgin olive oil could reduce depression symptoms.

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