Recently a study was published in the British Medical Journal examining health-related behaviors & how they influence mental well-being in the general population. This study can be found in its entirety here.
The authors start from the position that there are major behavioral risk factors that adversely affect health outcomes and are strongly associated with mental illness. These are relatively well established and include: obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption and poor dietary patterns. This study used the Health Survey for England as its database for analysis.
Mental well-being was determined using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) and was administered in 2010 and 2011 to the populations. Surveys will never prove causation, but they do suggest correlations & associations, which can then be used for future intervention trials in humans or mechanistic studies in animals.
The study found that the odds of having lower mental well being were much greater in obese individuals and they increased (greater odds of having lower mental well being) with increased smoking and with decreased vegetable & fruit intakes; Conversely, the odds of having lower mental well were lower with reasonable alcohol intake (<4 in men; <3 in women). Furthermore, odds of having higher mental well being were not correlated with BMI or alcohol intake, but were lower in ex-smokers and with lower vegetable & fruit intakes.
The conclusion is that along with smoking, vegetable & fruit intake consumption was the health-behavior most consistently associated with mental well-being in both genders.
Okay, so what’s the take home from this study. Again, this is NOT causal, but we can take home some cool tips that help us stack the deck in our favor for being healthy, living longer & performing better! Obviously, smoking is something we would all be better off without, so get help & stop, whatever it takes. Talk to you Doctor, Pharmacist, Naturopath, Homeopath, Psychologist, Hypnotist, whatever works, do it! Furthermore, obviously, higher vegetable & fruit intake and in particular eating low carb vegetables (i.e. green leafys, etc…) daily it won’t hurt us, but will likely make us feel better both physically and mentally/emotionally!
So, it’s key to eat more vegetables & fruits and in particular the low carb vegetables! In fact, in a previous post, I discussed my take of the literature that lead me to believe that high refined carb intake, often due to a low fat diet was increasing our risk for mental health conditions in our lives (read that post here). Furthermore, I’ve discussed using green smoothies to increase your & your family vegetable intake, which is only going to increase the nutrient density of your food intake & subsequently lead to health improvements (read that post here).
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Have an awesome weekend!
In Health & Fitness,