20 March 2012

Bad mood? Go vegetarian

There are plenty of reasons to feel good about eating a vegetarian diet. By not eating meat you’re not contributing to the slaughter of countless animals, you’re putting better nutrition into your body and you’re trying to make the world a better place.

A study by researchers at the Nutrition Department at Benedictine University and School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University found a plant-based diet can improve your mood.

It is the first to investigate the impact of a meat-free diet on mood.

Researchers believe that omnivorous diets are high in arachidonic acid (AA), which has a negative effect on the brain and can result in an unpleasant mood. Those who consume fish and seafood experience an increase in eicosapentawnoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fats that counteract negative effects of AA.

Thirty-nine omnivores who consumed meat and/or poultry once a day were selected for the study. Participants were divided into three diet groups: OMN (meat, poultry and fish eaters), FISH (fish eaters) and VEG (plant eaters).

Participants answered questionnaires on food frequency and mood states as well as tests on depression, anxiety and stress at the beginning of the trial and after the two-week experiment.

Results showed mood scores were unchanged for individuals in the OMN and FISH groups, but scores improved for the VEG group. The vegetarian diet reduced levels of EPA, DHA, and AA.

Researchers concluded a vegetarian has a positive, short-term effect on mood, stating “exploring this phenomenon further is warranted, as reductions in dietary meat, fish, and poultry would not only reduce health risks but could benefit the environment as well.”

Click here to read the study published in Nutrition Journal

Kaitlyn Munro | Tumblr |Facebook | @kaitmunro
Buffalo, New York Kaitlyn is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and minor in Women’s Studies. She worked as a barista at a vegan cafĂ© before landing a job as assignment editor for a TV news station in Buffalo, New York. She's trying to be a “runner" and just signed up to run her first half-marathon in May. Also, she loves food - especially vegan cupcakes.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/daguerreo_type