Washington DC: Good nutrition not only benefits your physical health, but also works as a cornerstone for mental health, says a study published in the Clinical Psychological Science journal. A study highlights the different approaches that psychology researchers are taking to understand the many ways in which nutrition and mental health intersect, says ANI.
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Decades of research have shown the importance of proper nutrition in preventing and treating the ill effects of inflammation and stress, physiological processes that are intimately linked with mental health. Despite this clear connection, diet and metabolism typically do not feature in studies that examine aspects of psychological well-being.
“Nutrition is not mainstream within the sciences that study mental health and illness,” psychological scientist Alan Kazdin (Yale University), former editor of Clinical Psychological Science, notes in his introduction.
“Standard coursework in training and exposure to the scientific literature in the traditional mental health professions omit even a morsel. A single series of papers cannot redress that. Yet we can make salient key questions and convey there are answers.”
The aim of this collection of articles is to “showcase the diversity of studies being conducted in a new, rapidly emerging field of nutrition and mental health,” write guest editors Julia J. Rucklidge (University of Canterbury) and Bonnie J. Kaplan (University of Calgary) in their introduction to the special section.
The five articles included in the special section investigate the intersection of nutrition and mental health from varying levels and perspectives. Building on previous research showing the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean-style diet – rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and fish – Almudena Sanchez-Villegas and colleagues examine outcomes associated with a broader Mediterranean lifestyle that includes diet, physical activity, and social activity.
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Looking at data from 11,800 individuals participating in a university-based longitudinal study, the researchers found that all of these variables independently predicted a lower risk of depression. The article highlights the importance of examining the combined effects of nutritional and other lifestyle factors on mental health outcomes.