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Diet Can Influence Mood Differently By Age

Diet Can Influence Mood Differently By Age

Emerging research suggests that dietary practices affect mental health differently in young versus older adults.

Investigators from Binghamton University, State University of New York conducted an anonymous Internet survey, asking people around the world to complete the Food-Mood Questionnaire (FMQ). The survey includes questions on food groups that have been associated with neurochemistry and neurobiology.

Assistant professors Lina Begdache and 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 buildup of two brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) known to promote mood.

Regular exercise leads to buildup 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.”

“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.

Source: Binghamton University/EurekAlert

Diet Can Influence Mood Differently By Age

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Diet Can Influence Mood Differently By Age. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/12/13/diet-can-influence-mood-differently-by-age/129894.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Dec 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Dec 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.