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Dietary Patterns and Mental Health in Women

Dietary Patterns

Dietary patterns are defined as the specified quantity, proportion, and variety of food products consumed and the resultant quantity and proportion of nutrients in the habitual diet, including its multidimensional and dynamic characteristics. Because identifying the optimal dietary food-based recommendations for the prevention of chronic diseases is currently considered a public health priority, studies on dietary patterns are becoming vital. In recent years, recommendations and studies focusing on dietary patterns have been perceived as more practical than those focusing on nutrient intake, because the former allow promoting the consumption of healthy diets among individuals and population groups while providing specific information on food products that should be consumed.

Preventing Diseases

An increasing number of diseases are being proven to be prevented by adopting specific dietary patterns, and this has also been indicated in meta-analyses on the risk of cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease, cancers (eg, colorectal, lung, endometrial, breast), frailty, neurodegenerative diseases, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, among others. Moreover, specific dietary patterns have been attributed to a lower risk of cardiometabolic diseases and preterm birth, and a lower level of C-reactive protein.

Among the conditions associated with mental health, depressive symptoms and depression were analyzed in a few studies and perinatal anxiety in 2 studies, but to our knowledge, none has been conducted thus far that assessed the influence of dietary patterns on a broad spectrum of mental health.

Taking this into account, as well as given the lack of studies on the general mental health of adults, we conducted a systematic review, using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, of the observational studies analyzing the association between the dietary pattern of fruit and vegetables and the broad aspects of mental health in adult women. The systematic review verified whether the dietary pattern high in fruit and vegetables is associated with better mental health outcomes compared to other dietary patterns. The study was planned to be conducted specifically with women because the World Health Organization has indicated women are a vulnerable population due to a number of sex-related mental health disparities and has stated that there is a need for strategies dedicated especially to women…Read more


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