How Men’s Nutrition Influences Their Mental Health

Last updated January 2, 2024

Men, here’s what you need to know about food and mood—and how men’s nutrition can influence your mental health.

While it’s important to address mental health across the board, no matter their identity, studies show that biological sex and differences in brain morphology can play a role in mental distress. As the state of the brain is influenced by nutritional needs, this means that men and women may need to eat different things to address mood disorders. 

Though the same studies show that women are more prone to issues with mental health than men, it comes as no surprise that men are still affected. So today, we flip the tables and focus specifically on men’s nutrition and how it influences their mental health. 

Men’s Nutrition and Declining Mental Health

Mental health issues are starting to plague Americans at higher rates, leading to a silent but deadly epidemic. While there are a number of things contributing to this growing issue, such as economic instability and social stigmas, lifestyle behaviors also play a significant role, such as the food you eat and the benefits of exercise.

This indicates that men could have more control over their mental state by being more mindful of the foods they are consuming. 

The Male Diet: What You Eat Can Affect Your Mental Health

Even without considering mental health, men’s nutrition needs are very different than women’s. And it’s important to pay attention to those differences to ensure that what goes on their plate meets their unique physical needs.

While there are foods men can eat to directly benefit their mood and mental state, every part of the body is connected. So eating for gut health or heart health can also help improve their overall mental well-being. 

A person’s immune system, for a more specific example, not only fights off inflammation and infectious diseases but also plays a role in emotional patterns and psychological dynamics. Thus, eating foods that support the immune system can also support mental health. Foods that top the list include almonds, broccoli, blueberries, fatty fish, ginger, turmeric and spinach. 

For men specifically, you should be consuming five to six servings of vegetables a day, two servings of fruit, four and a half servings of grains, two and a half to three servings of lean meats and other sources of protein, and two and a half to three and a half servings of dairy.

As for what to eat for mental health… studies show that moderate dairy consumption, low caffeine intake, high meat intake and abstinence from fast food are important for men to keep mental health issues at bay. As men age, a moderate intake of nuts has also been shown to improve mood disorders.  

Again, as the body is connected, any foods that are healing for the body are also healing for the mind. So aside from eating specific foods listed for mental health, eating an overall healthier diet, especially one that is tailored to your needs as a man, can help keep both your body and your mind healthier. 

Additional Tips for Men to Improve Mental Health

In addition to diet, daily habits and lifestyle choices can also play a significant role in mental health. The best way to quickly boost your mental state and help fight off mood disorders is to live a healthier balanced life as a whole. 

For men, top health tips for living a healthier life include:

  • Keeping up with regular doctor visits, with a particular focus on cholesterol and diabetes screenings.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking ½ oz for every pound you weigh a day.
  • Taking vitamins, such as vitamins A, B, C, D and E.
  • Practicing self-care more often. 
  • Getting regular exercise, including cardio.
  • Getting a full night’s rest each and every day.
  • Practicing positive thinking to reduce negativity in your life. 

If you find your life is too chaotic and stressful, try taking breaks more often to give your mind and body some rest. Perhaps it’s also time to use some of that vacation you’ve saved up.

Traveling is not only fun, but it also offers numerous wellness benefits. People who take vacations have improved physical and mental health as well as a better outlook on life. 

Food for the Brain When it Comes to Men’s Nutrition

While eating better and leading a healthier lifestyle is important to mental health, it’s also okay if you need a little extra help to manage your mental state. There has long been a negative stigma surrounding therapy, especially for men.

But there is nothing wrong with talking to a professional to get more personalized help. Simply talking with a supportive person can often lead toward a healthier and happier life. 

Sam Bowman profile

About the author: Sam Bowman enjoys writing about people, wellness and adventure, and how they merge. He enjoys taking trips by himself, with his friends or even with his dog. In his spare time, he likes running, reading and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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