Food choices can shape mental health and acognitive function

Wednesday 17th April 2024 07:09 EDT

A collaborative study conducted by Fudan University in China and the University of Cambridge in the UK, published in Nature Mental Health, utilised a substantial sample size of 181,990 participants from the UK Biobank. The study investigated the relationship between food choices and various aspects including cognitive function, mental health, metabolism, brain imaging, and genetics.

The study analysed the intake of vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, cheese, cereal, red wine, spirits, and bread among participants. It revealed that 57% of the participants favoured a healthy balanced diet, characterised by a well-rounded consumption of all examined food categories, without excessive amounts in any specific category.

They further showed that those with a healthy balanced diet had better brain health, cognitive function and mental health than others. We compared the balanced diet to three other diet groups – low-carb (18 per cent), vegetarian (6 per cent) and high protein/low fibre (19 per cent). The study revealed that individuals who adhered to a more balanced diet exhibited superior fluid intelligence (the capacity to solve new problems), processing speed, memory, and executive functions (a range of mental abilities including flexible thinking and self-control) compared to those with other dietary patterns.

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