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Dietary Diversity Could Keep Us Happier As We Age

 

Concentrating on eating a diverse diet may just be the secret to building mental resilience as we age!

Our diets, along with other lifestyle factors, could help shape the way our brains function. A recent study analysing the psychological resilience — i.e. personal tenacity, optimism, coping mechanism, mood and self-control — of 8 571 elderly Chinese individuals found that older people who adhered to diets high in dietary diversity were more likely to have higher psychological resilience (Yin et al, 2019, p1). The greatest contribution to dietary diversity was a high consumption of vegetables, fruits, and nuts — suggesting that eating a diet rich in diverse, healthful foods could be protective of your mental health as you age.

Given the world’s increasing aging population and their growing dependency on public healthcare systems, it is becoming even more important to study factors associated with the mental decline of the elderly.

Multiple studies have highlighted the link between high psychological resilience and greater happiness, as well as lower depression. This is a one of several studies that, after controlling for confounders, confirms the benefits of eating diversely on psychological resilience.

It’s not necessary — or even a good idea — to wait for signs of a declining mood and cognition to address your brain health. Instead, optimise your brain functioning by eating diverse, natural sources of neurotransmitters via diverse plant-based foods. By making small changes to our plates, Knorr believes that we can help shape the health of the nation. Many of the foods that Knorr and WWF’s Future 50 Foods report is championing, including millet, cowpeas, Bambara groundnut and mung beans, amongst others, can help improve the dietary diversity of South African diets significantly.

Visit the Knorr site for delicious, nutritious and diverse recipes. To earn three CPD points, read the full paper here.

REFERENCES:

Yin, Z., Brasher, M.S., Kraus, V.B., Lv, Y., Shi, X. and Zeng, Y., 2019. Dietary Diversity Was Positively Associated with Psychological Resilience among Elders: A Population-Based Study. Nutrients11(3), p. 650. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030650.

Knorr, WWF. 2019. Future 50 Food, 50 Foods For Healthier People And A Healthier Planet. [eBook] Available at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-02/Knorr_Future_50_Report_FINAL_Online.pdf. Accessed 20 July 2020.