A Nutrient-Rich Diet May Be More Important for Women to Support Emotional Well-being
Node Smith, ND
A recent study suggests that women may need a more nutrient-rich diet to support a positive emotional mood, and sense of well-being. The research comes from Binghamton University, State University at New York.1
There is evidence that the differences in neurological physiology and functional differences between men’s and women’s brains dictate their susceptibility to mental health issues. However, until now little has been known about the role of nutritional habits as it relates to psychological wellbeing across gender. A team of researchers led by Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University have been looking into just that. An anonymous survey of 563 individuals (48 percent men and 52 percent women) via social media was utilized.
What was found
What was found was that men are more likely to experience mental well-being until nutritional deficiencies arise, whereas women are less likely to feel mental well-being until a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are followed.
This may help explain why previous studies have noted that women are at increased risk for mental health complaints compared to men, and also accentuates the need for nutritionally dense diets when addressing mental health concerns.
Women may need a larger spectrum of nutrients to support mood
“The biggest takeaway is that women may need a larger spectrum of nutrients to support mood, compared to men,” said Begdache. “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.”
- Begdache L, Kianmehr H, Sabounchi N, Chaar M, Marhaba J. Principal component analysis identifies differential gender-specific dietary patterns that may be linked to mental distress in human adults. Nutr Neurosci. 2018;:1-14.
Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.