Study Shows That Vegetarian Diet Can Improve Mood
Is meat making you moody? We all know that diet is a major part of our health and a new study thinks that it may be a major part of our mood. The study published by Bonnie Bezhold in the Nutrition Journal used a random group of omnivores who found that their moods were improved over just a two-week period by doing nothing but removing meats from their diet, including poultry and fish.
This is significant research for those who have trouble with anxiety and depression and are looking for a natural way to help ease those burdens.
About The Group
The participants were randomly assigned to different groups, one group ate normally, including meats, fish and poultry, another group consumed a vegetarian diet that included fish, and the third group avoided all of the above. The participants were then asked to complete a questioner to check on their moods including a depression and stress scale.
The results, which were self-reported, were that the first two groups who continued to consume either all of the meats or just fish both showed no change. The group that ate a vegetarian diet, however, showed vast improvements in the way that they felt at the end of the two week time period. This is just one of Bezhold’s studies that have shown that there is an increased positive mood in conjunction with a vegetarian diet.
The question then comes down to what is it about eating an omnivore’s diet that has a negative impact on our moods.
Are meat lovers really more depressed and anxious?
Vegetarian diets are often rich in antioxidants, especially when compared to meat-filled diets, which can help to elevate good mood. In a cross-sectional study, it was found that vegetarians reported an all over better mental state than their non-vegetarian counterparts did.
Omnivorous diets are high in arachidonic acid, also known as omega-6 as compared to vegetarian diets, and omega-6 has been linked to mood regulation.
Research has backed up the theory that Omega-6 has a negative impact on our moods. A study by Peter B. Adams shows that the level of arachidonic acid had a significant correlation to symptoms of clinical depression.
Omega-3 from fish oil has become a popular choice for those wanting to improve brain function as well as other health benefits, but from the results of these studies those may actually be causing us mental health harm.
One of the ways to get the same kind of benefits without negative side effects is to switch your choices from the fish source of omega-3’s to their plant alternatives, like flaxseed, or even the tasty option of walnuts.
These studies are not absolute but do show a significant relationship between eating meats of all types and mood issues like anxiety and depression.
It is interesting to ponder how a plant-based diet may affect mood in relationship to its ability to provide immense amounts of energy. Plant eating is known to increase energy and vitality. It takes the body immense amounts of time to process meat and that requires quite a bit of energy. When people choose a meatless lifestyle, they often find that their energy levels sharply increase.
When we have more energy, we naturally have a better mood. Fatigue and weakness are draining, they naturally make us feel run down, irritable and often frustrated because we cannot do all the things we want to or need to. Considering that plant foods greatly improve energy levels, it is very possible that our moods will improve as a natural consequence.
Another interesting aspect is fiber, which is prominent in plant-based diets. Fiber helps to regulate digestive health, which can also improve everyday mood, when you feel good, you feel good!
A study is not required to come to the conclusion that a healthy diet filled with nutrient rich plant foods makes you feel better on a day to day basis, not only physically, but also in regards to taking care of yourself and your body and when you feel good you cannot help but be in a good mood.
There is still a discussion among the experts on what the best diet is to help with brain function as well as moods. This area of research is bringing to light a new point of view and, hopefully as Bezhold suggests, there will be more research conducted to increase the knowledge of how connected our diet is to our mental health.