Diet has a big effect on emotional well-being in women than in men

Dietary patterns in adult men and women in relation to mental distress.


In order to support positive emotional well-being, women require a more nutrient-rich diet than men. It is because the anatomical and functional differences in men’s and women’s brain dictate susceptibility to mental disease.

Scientists at the Binghamton University conducted this research on 563 participants through social media. Until now, there is less awareness about the role of dietary patterns in gender-specific psychological wellbeing. Scientists found that men are more likely to experience mental well-being until nutritional deficiencies arise.

On the other hand, women are less likely to experience mental well-being until a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are followed. This study suggests that women are at a greater risk for mental distress when compared to men, and emphasize the role of a nutrient-dense diet in mental wellbeing.

Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University said, “The biggest takeaway is that women may need a larger spectrum of nutrients to support mood, compared to men. These findings may explain the reason why women are twice more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression and suffer from longer episodes, compared to men. Today’s diet is high in energy but poor in key nutrients that support brain anatomy and functionality.”

“Evidence suggests that our ancestors’ diet, which was a high-energy-nutrient-dense diet, contributed significantly to brain volumes and cognitive evolution of mankind.”

“Males and females had different physical and emotional responsibilities that may have necessitated different energy requirements and food preference. Thus, gender-based differential food and energy intake may explain the differential brain volumes and connectivity between females and males. Therefore, a potential mismatch is happening between our contemporary diet and the evolved human brain which is disturbing the normal functionality of certain systems in the brain.”

The paper was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.

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