Students help men find recipe to better health
NUTRITION and Dietetics students from the University of the Sunshine Coast are working with men to make them more aware of the important connection between diet and mental health.
Ricki-Lee Driver and her partner, Courtney Lynch, have found many men are unaware that making small changes to their diet could boost not only physical health, but also their mental and emotional state.
"If a person isn't getting the right nutrients in their diet, they're more susceptible to conditions like depression and anxiety," Ms Driver said.
"We want to teach the public about the different components of food and how each component links back to the brain.
"Research has shown that men tend to have poorer diets than women, and are less likely to talk about their mental wellbeing, so it's particularly important to reach them," Ms Driver added.
To achieve good mental health through diet, Ms Driver explains men need have a balanced diet which is varied and contains foods from each of the five food groups - fruit, vegetables, grains, meats or alternatives, and diary. The daily recommended consumption of the five food groups are -
For men aged 51 to 70 years -
- 6 grains, 2 fruit, at least 5 vegetables and legumes, at least 2 meats or alternatives, at least 2 dairy and up to 2 unsaturated fats and oils.
For men aged 70 and older -
- at least 4 grains, 2 fruit, five vegetables and legumes, at least 2 meats or alternatives, at least 3 dairy and up to 2 unsaturated fats and oils.
Men should be aware that various food nutrients influence the health of the brain and ultimately a person's mood state. Deficiencies in any of these has been linked to lower mood states, and increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Other tips for a good diet are -
- Protein is another key component in good brain health. "If we don't have enough protein in our diet, our body isn't able to produce enough of the hormones which promote feelings of wellbeing and help with our concentration," Ms Driver said.
- Carbohydrates are a key provider of energy for the brain. Consuming sustained release carbohydrates and getting enough of them is important to achieving feelings of wellbeing.
- Eating unsaturated fats, such as fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, olive oil and nuts, is linked with increased brain function.
Ms Driver recommends that any man that has concerns about his diet should consult with a local dietitian.