Compared to the Western diet, the Mediterranean diet has many known health benefits. To assess how the dietary components of each diet affect mental wellbeing, an anonymous online survey targeting those 18 and older was distributed via social media and email. This survey included demographic questions and the validated Food-Mood Questionnaire, which asked participants to rate how often they consumed various foods that constitute both diets, such as whole grains, fish, fast food, and meat. It also included questions that evaluated their perceived stress and mental distress through the Perceived Stress and the Kessler-6 scales. A total of 1591 participants completed the survey. The data was analyzed using Spearman’s Rho correlation and Principal Component Analysis in SPSS version 25.0. The results showed significant negative correlations between mental distress and perceived stress with several components of the Mediterranean diet, such as whole grains, seafood, and beans. Meat was also found to be negatively correlated with mental distress and perceived stress. However, significant positive correlations between mental distress, perceived stress and the Western diet such as fast food and high glycemic index food were found. This suggests that incorporating components of the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for mental wellbeing.
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Nagorny, Katerina; Chowdhury, Ushima; Rosenberg, Lexis; Welch, Megan; Dempsey, Gerard; and Colabelli, Michael, "Effects of Mediterranean and Western Dietary Patterns on Mental Distress and Perceived Stress" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 82.