Favorite Feel-Good Foods

One diet is best for your brain.

Outside – Active people tend to overthink what food is doing for their body – but underthink what it’s doing for their mind.

Yet you’ve probably noticed that what you eat impacts what’s going on upstairs.

We’ve all devoured a cheat meal and afterward felt off, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.

And new research suggests that the connection between diet and mental well-being is a little more nuanced than scientists once thought.

Earlier studies suggest what you might expect: eating junk isn’t great for your brain.

People who consume plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fish seem to be less at risk of depression compared to those who favor fatty meats, processed carbs, and sweets.

But emerging research shows that even among healthy diets, some might be better for mental health than others. In a recent review published in Molecular Psychology, researchers analyzed 41 studies that sought to quantify the impact of various diets on clinical depression.

The analysis accounted for a variety of eating plans including the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the Healthy Eating Index.

The winner? The Mediterranean diet, which according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition features abundant fruits and vegetables, olive oil, dairy products like yogurt and cheese, cereals, beans, fish and poultry, and moderate amounts of red meat and wine.

(Sometimes it seems to be the best diet for just about everything: it may help you live longer, and it recently won the top spot in an exhaustive, expert-led analysis of 40 diets based on metrics like being heart-healthy, plant heavy, and easy to adhere to.)

Drew Ramsey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of Eat Complete, says the Mediterranean diet may have a positive effect on mental health because it helps fight inflammation. “Molecules that are responsible for inflammation influence things like your mood and energy levels,” says Ramsey.

“For example, inflammation gets in the way of the brain’s self-repair process … ” Read more. 


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