Scientists discover what to eat at any age to boost your mood.
Young adults’ mental health is boosted when they regularly exercise and eat meat, a US study found.
Those who fail to eat meat or work out three times a week are significantly more likely to experience mental distress, the research adds.
This is due to both meat and exercise leading to a build-up of chemicals in the brain that promote mental wellbeing, according to the researchers.
More mature adults benefit from eating antioxidant-rich vegetables and avoiding caffeine to counterbalance stress, the findings add.
Young adults’ mental health is boosted when they regularly exercise and eat meat (stock)
WHAT SHOULD YOUNG ADULTS EAT?
Young adults should eat meat to boost levels of ‘feel-good’ chemicals in their brains.
Exercise has the same effect.
WHAT SHOULD MATURE ADULTS EAT?
Mature adults should eat antioxidant-rich vegetables to counterbalance stress.
They should avoid caffeine and sugar.
How the research was carried out
Researchers from Binghamton University in New York analyzed the dietary intake and exercise levels of young adults, defined as those aged between 18 and 29 years old, compared to those aged 30 and over.
The study’s participants completed an online questionnaire that assessed their diet, lifestyle and mental health.
The findings were published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
Mature adults benefit from eating antioxidant-rich vegetables and avoiding caffeine (stock)
‘GOOD BACTERIA’ IN YOGHURT MAY COMBAT DEPRESSION BY CHANGING BRAIN ACTIVITY
Yogurt could help combat depression as so-called ‘good bacteria’ ease symptoms of the mental health disorder, research revealed in May.
Some 64 per cent of adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and symptoms of depression see their mental health improve within just six weeks of taking a daily good bacteria, or probiotic, supplement, the study revealed.
This is compared to just 32 per cent of patients noting an improvement after taking a placebo, the research by McMaster University adds.
MRI scanning reveals probiotic-receiving patients experience changes in the areas of their brains associated with mood.
‘Meat leads to the build-up of chemicals known to promote mood’
Results reveal young adults’ moods are boosted when they eat foods that increase neurotransmitter activity in the brain, such as meat.
Regular exercise has the same effect. Neurotransmitters send chemical messages between cells.
Those who eat meat and exercise less than three times a week are significantly more likely to suffer from poor mental health.
Study author Professor Lina Begdache, said: ‘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.’
More mature adults benefit from eating antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, as well as avoiding caffeine, sugary treats and skipping breakfast. These can cause an increased heart rate, raised blood pressure and sweating.
Professor Begdache added: ‘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).
‘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.’