Which foods are best for mental well-being? It depends on your age

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Meat, fruits, and vegetables – studies have suggested that these foods have the potential to boost mood and mental health. But which are best? Well, according to new research, the effects of specific foods on psychological well-being are highly dependent on a person’s age.

 The effect of diet on mental health may be influenced by age, researchers suggest.

Researchers from the State University of New York at Binghamton have found that certain foods affect the mood and mental wellness of young adults differently to that of older adults, and vice versa. Study co-author Lina Begdache, who is an assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton, and colleagues believe that their findings may help individuals to make food choices that benefit their mental well-being.

The team recently reported their results in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

In recent years, researchers have established that what we eat can have a significant impact on our mental health. A study reported by Medical News Today earlier this year, for example, suggested that increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables can improve psychological well-being in just 2 weeks, while other research has suggested a link between red meat intake and reduced risk of depression.

It is believed that such benefits are down to how certain foods modify our brain chemistry, which can affect psychological health. But Begdache and colleagues make an important point: the structure of our brains is not the same throughout our entire lifespan.

As the researchers note, “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.” –Online

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