Youngsters who consume meat less than three times a week and follow a lifestyle that lacks exercising and physical activities are said to be highly prone to mental distress, a study has claimed.

The study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, says the mental health of adults aged more than 30 appears to be more sensitive to regular intake of coffee and carbohydrates.

The mood of young adults belonging to the age group of 18-29 appears to be more dependent on the food that raises the availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain.

"Young adult mood appears to be sensitive to the build-up of brain chemicals," said Lina Begdache, from the Binghamton University in the US.

"Regular consumption of meat leads to a build-up of two brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) known to promote mood. Regular exercise leads to a build-up of these and other neurotransmitters as well," Begdache explained.

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"In other words, young adults who ate meat (red or white) less than three times a week and exercised less than three times week showed a significant mental distress," she explained further.

The mood in mature adults is likely to be more dependent on food like fruits, which raises the presence of antioxidants. Their mood restrains from food which activates the sympathetic nervous system inappropriately, including some factors like skipping breakfast, high glycemic foods and coffee.

According to the researchers, the mature adult mood seems to be more sensitive to regular consumption of sources of antioxidants and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the innate fight or flight response, commonly known as a stress response. With ageing, there is an increase in free radical formation (cell-damaging agents), so our need for antioxidants increases.

The risk for mental distress increases because of free radicals, which causes disturbances in the brain. The researchers revealed that our ability to manage stress depletes, hence if we eat food that activates the stress response, we are likely to face mental distress.