Researchers from Iran, Canada, and Australia recently published a study in Clinical Nutrition, showing a connection between an omnivorous diet and improved mental health.
The researchers assessed the diet and psychological factors (including anxiety and depression) of nearly 4,000 Iranian adults. They also used the data to calculate the daily intakes of nearly 60 nutrients and bioactive compounds.
While analyzing the data, they noticed 3 dietary patterns among participants:
- Omnivore: high in individual amino acids, cobalamin, zinc, phosphorus, saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and pantothenic acid
- Grains and dairy: high in thiamin, folate, selenium, iron, starch, maltose, betaine, calcium, riboflavin, and niacin
- Fruits and vegetables: high in copper, vitamin C, glucose, fructose, potassium, dietary fibre, sucrose, vitamin A, magnesium, and vitamin K
The researchers found that those in the omnivorous group who most closely followed this pattern had lower anxiety and depression scores than those in the group who followed it least. There didn’t seem to be significant difference in depression and anxiety rates among participants of the other two dietary groups.
This study joins a growing body of research showing a strong connection between nutrition and mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.