Four out of five Americans would change their diet to improve mental health, but would consider other factors in life more impactful

good diet

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 public domain

Nutrition and mental health are linked, and studies on mental well-being and the gut biome, the Mediterranean diet, and the DASH diet, among other topics, have garnered more attention in recent years. Americans are picking up on this understanding: The American Psychiatric Association’s latest monthly Healthy Minds survey reveals that two-thirds (66%) of American adults feel well informed about the link between nutrition and mental health. The majority (81%) would be willing to change their diet to improve mental health.

The survey was conducted by Morning Consult from March 16 to 17, 2023, on a sample of 2,220 with a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Younger adults were more likely than older adults to say they felt informed about the relationship between diet and mental health; 80% of adults aged 18-34 said they felt very or little knowledgeable about the topic, in contrast to 47% of those over the age of 65.

“Mental health is overall health, and what we eat and drink can affect how we feel,” said APA President Rebecca W. Brendel, MD, JD. “Eating nutrient-rich fresh fruits and vegetables can help brain function. Conversely, too much caffeine, sugar, or processed foods can make us feel out of place.”

When asked how they’ve changed their diet in the past, most adults responded by drinking more water (66%) and eating more fruits (50%) and vegetables (53%). Fewer had avoided processed foods (36%), reduced their alcohol consumption (28%) or ate more whole grains (25%). About one in eight adults (12%) said they hadn’t changed their diet.

“Many of us have choices about what we eat,” said Saul Levin, CEO and medical director of the APA, MD, MPA. “It is important for everyone to realize the impact of nutrition on mental health and that you don’t have to order fancy meal service or take expensive supplements to consume foods and drinks that promote mental well-being. Simply drinking more water can make a difference.”

More Americans say work (70%), family stress (68%), exercise (65%) and social habits (61%) have a more significant impact on their mental health than their diet (58 %). They are equally likely to say that their diet (58%), family history (57%) and genetics (55%) have a significant impact on their mental health.

Provided by the American Psychiatric Association

Citation: Four out of five Americans would change diet to improve mental health, but rate other life factors as more impactful (2023, April 12) Retrieved April 12, 2023 from -americans-diets-life-mental-health.html

This document is subject to copyright. Except in all propriety for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *