Healthy home cooking equals a healthy mind, study finds

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A new study from Edith Cowan University found being confident in the kitchen is not only good for your taste buds: it’s also good for your mental health.

They tested 657 participants who undertook a seven-week healthy cooking course.

They measured the program’s effect on participants’ cooking confidence and self-perceived mental health, as well as their overall satisfaction around cooking and diet-related behaviors.

Researchers found those who participated in the program saw significant improvements in general health, mental health, and subjective vitality immediately after the program which remained six months after completing the course when compared to the study’s control group.

They also found improvements in cooking confidence, the ability to easily change eating habits, and overcome lifestyle barriers to healthy eating.

The team says improving people’s diet quality can be a preventive strategy to halt or slow the rise in poor mental health, obesity, and other metabolic health disorders.

The study also revealed cooking remains a highly gendered task.

At the start of the program, 77 percent of participants who identified as female claimed to be confident about cooking, compared to just 23 percent of those who identified as male.

But at the end of the program, cooking confidence and cooking skills were equal across both counterparts.

This change in confidence could see the change to the household food environment by reducing gender bias and leading to a gender balance in home cooking.

The study finding that a healthy diet could improve health is in line with other findings that

Recent studies have found that a heart-healthy diet may lower ‘bad’ cholesterol effectively and that a high-fiber diet may help prevent high blood pressure effectively.

Susan Ryskamp, a dietitian at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, suggests that heart disease patients need to follow a balanced diet to make their heart strong again.

According to her, the things people eat are crucial in the days, months, and even years after a cardiac event.

If a diet is high in processed foods such as cookies, cakes, fried foods, and processed meats, heart patients may have a higher risk of depression, which is already high after a cardiac event.

In addition, processed foods can lead to inflammation in the body and contribute to poor heart recovery and other health problems.

Moreover, these foods may change blood sugar levels and harm the blood vessel health in the brain.

To have a heart-friendly diet, the researcher suggests heart patients follow the Mediterranean diet.

This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. People also need to use herbs and spices to replace salt, use healthy fats such as olive oil to replace butter.

In addition, people need to limit their red meat consumption to only a few times a month and eat fish at least twice a week.

Other healthy habits include sharing meals with family and friends and do exercise regularly.

The researcher suggests that the Mediterranean diet not only can protect the heart but also can offer a much-needed emotional boost.

Keeping a diary can help heart patients stay on track, and do mindful eating can help people focus.

If you care about diet, please read studies about vitamin B3 that could help treat vision loss, and diet that could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and help manage blood sugar.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about what you need to know vitamin D and COVID-19, and results showing eating a plant-based diet at any age may lower heart disease risk.

The study is published in Frontiers in Nutrition and was conducted by Dr. Joanna Rees et al.

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