What you eat can have an impact on your mental health.
Researchers from Binghamton University in New York looked at men and women ages 30 and older and found that for women specifically, a healthy diet may be especially crucial for staving off anxiety, depression, and distress. They found that eating foods like nuts, fish, and leafy greens was associated with a more positive mood, while eating fast food and skipping breakfast were linked to worse mood scores. In addition, eating foods with a high glycemic index, which raise blood sugar quickly (such as refined carbohydrates like potato chips, white bread, and sugary foods) were associated with lower mood scores.
Lead study author Linda Begdache says that women who reported eating less healthy food and skipping breakfast reported significantly more negative side effects than men, and these women were also more likely to report side effects even if they ate an otherwise healthy diet. Still, the study proved correlation, not causation, so it’s not clear if the foods caused changes in mood. It could be that happier people are more likely to make healthier food choices, for example.