Physical Inactivity and Lesser Meat Intake may Lead to Mental Distress

by Rishika Gupta on Dec 13 2017 7:04 PM

Physical Inactivity and Lesser Meat Intake may Lead to Mental Distress
Young adults who consumed meat less than three times a week or did not indulge in regular physical exercises are at an increased risk of mental distress. The findings of this study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience also explained how the mental health of mature adults could be influenced by the regular consumption of coffee and carbohydrates.
Moods in young adults between the age group of 18-29 have shown some dependence on food items that increase the availability of neurotransmitter precursors and their concentrations in the brain, found a research team. These young adults were also found to be sensitive to chemical build-up in the brain.

"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," Lina Begdache, from the Binghamton University in the US.

The reason for these effects on mood can be due to the regular build-up of two brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) that are produced upon regular meat consumption. These chemicals are also well-known to promote mood changes. Regular exercise can also lead to the build-up of these neurotransmitters.

Mood changes in mature adults over the age of 30 years have also shown an association with food containing antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables. Their mood can be linked to foods that can increase the availability of antioxidants and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system.

Consumption of coffee and foods with high glycemic index and unhealthy habits like skipping breakfast can contribute to these mood changes. Stress response in mature adults can also be influenced by certain sources of antioxidants.

With the increase in age, these mature adults will experience an increase in free radical formation, which in turn can increase their need for antioxidants. These free radicals in the body can thereby lead to increased disturbances in the brain.


  1. Lina Begdache, Maher Chaar , Nasim Sabounchi, Hamed Kianmehr . Assessment of dietary factors, dietary practices and exercise on mental distress in young adults versus matured adults: A cross-sectional study, Journal (2017).