Scientists have recently discovered different diets to boost the mood of people of different ages. A recent US study shows mental health is boosted in young adults (aged 18-29) when they regularly exercise and eat meat.
The research shows that who fail to eat meat or work out three times a week are more likely to experience mental distress.
This is mainly because both actions build up chemicals in the brain that promote mental wellbeing.
However, people above 30 years benefit more from eating antioxidant-rich vegetables and should avoid caffeine to counterbalance stress.
The dietary intake and exercise levels of young adults and those aged 30 and over were analysed by researchers from Binghamton University in New York.
The study's participants completed an online questionnaire about their diet, lifestyle and mental health.
The results showed that young adults' moods are boosted when they eat foods that increase neurotransmitter activity in the brain -- like meat. Regular exercise also had the same effect.
Study author, Professor Lina Begdache, said: "Regular consumption of meat leads to a build-up of two brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) known to promote mood."
Begdache added: "Regular exercise leads to a build-up of these and other neurotransmitters as well."
In mature adults, it was seen that eating antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, benefit them more. And, they should avoiding caffeine and sugary treats. All these can cause an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and sweating.
Begdache added: "With ageing, there is an increase in free radical formation (oxidants), so our need for antioxidants increases. Free radicals cause disturbances in the brain, which increases the risk for mental distress."
She went on to explain: "Also, our ability to regulate stress decreases, so if we consume food that activates the stress response (such as coffee and too much carbohydrates), we are more likely to experience mental distress."
The findings were published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.