New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has found being confident in the kitchen is not only good for your taste buds; it’s also good for your mental health. The study follows ECU’s successful partnership with The Good Foundation and Jamie’s Ministry of Food initiative, with a mobile food kitchen providing cooking classes in the community as well as at the University’s Perth and SW campuses, throughout 2016 to 2018. In total, 657 participants undertook the seven-week healthy cooking course.
At the same time, ECU Institute for Nutrition Research academics 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. Improvements in cooking confidence, the ability to easily change eating habits, and overcome lifestyle barriers to healthy eating were also reported.
Lead researcher Dr. Joanna Rees said the study showed the importance of diet for mental health. “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,” she said. The Institute has previously found a link between eating more fruits and vegetables, and improved longer term mental health in a larger study collecting more sophisticated dietary data, implying the participants in the current study may have felt better due to improved diet.
However, the study showed participants’ mental health improved despite their reported diet not being found to have changed after completing the program. Also, the mental health benefits were equal among participants who were overweight or obese, and those in a healthy weight range.
Now that we’ve learned how important for your mental health it is to cook from home, it is time to look up some recipes that can help your mind and body. Don’t know where to start? Check out healthy recipes catered to your metabolic needs on bello 2 app.