• Mental Wellbeing

ARTICLE

Eating well for a healthy mind 

ARTICLE

  • Mental Wellbeing

Eating well for a healthy mind

Eating well for a healthy mind

Concept Card: Phospholipid Latte

Eating well for a healthy mind

Eating well for a healthy mind

Concept Card: Phospholipid & Protein Powder

Eating well for a healthy mind

Eating well for a healthy mind

Concept Card: Crispy Protein Granola Bar

Eating well for a healthy mind

Eating well for a healthy mind

Concept Card: Protein & Phospholipid Shake


When we’re stressed or upset, we often turn to comfort foods high in salt, sugar and fat to make us feel better. While they can give us a short-term boost, they have little to no nutritional value and can be harmful to physical and mental wellbeing in the long run.

A well-balanced diet, on the other hand, can be highly beneficial for optimal mental wellbeing and long-term health.

Consumers increasingly understand the inextricable link between different aspects of their health, with 89% believing mental health is connected to other aspects of their wellbeing according to the IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research.

Over 60% of global consumers are turning to nutrition to boost cognitive health, presenting an opportunity to increase awareness around how nutrition-rich products can pave the way for holistic wellbeing¹.

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet was amongst the top three most common steps taken by consumers to manage their holistic wellbeing, according to the IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research.

 

Dairy can offer a much-needed mental health boost 

Dairy is often not the first thing most consumers think of when it comes to products that support mental health. Most surveyed in the IPSOS Nutiani Consumer Wellness Research prefer to consume vitamins and minerals to manage both cognitive performance and stress, but many dairy ingredients are also proven to benefit mental functionality. 

The gut-brain axis is the two-way communication pathway between the gut and brain. Outside of the brain, there is nowhere else in the human body that has more receptors than the gut. From this response, we know that the gut has a big influence on the brain.

Probiotics are increasingly being recognised for their impact on the gut-brain axis. They influence the composition of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which in turn promotes a positive response in the brain. Specific strains such as Nutiani’s HN001TM  have also been found to support the management of post-natal depression and anxiety.

 

Other dairy ingredients like phospholipids are also proven supporters of mental health. Emerging scientific studies show that they are particularly beneficial for stress management by helping us to stay focused² and positive under pressure³.

Phospholipids are the fundamental building blocks of our brain and cognitive functions. However, they tend to decline as we age⁴, which can lead to lower levels of focus and mental alertness among older adults. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet that incorporates phospholipid-rich foods is one way for consumers to slow down the process and boost their cognitive performance. Phospholipids can be easily supplemented through protein fortified foods.

 

The unexpected mental benefits of fruits, vegetables and seafood

Fruits and vegetables are well-known for reducing the risk of illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease – but what about their effects on mental health?

These well-rounded foods are also proven to be highly beneficial for cognitive performance and stress management. In addition to containing complex carbohydrates that help to stabilise moods, fruits and vegetables also carry fibres required to maintain a healthy gut environment, which has been increasingly linked to better mental health outcomes⁵.

Seafood shows promise in treating mood disorders and boosting cognitive performance. Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin D, which are vital for brain health. Shellfish are also loaded with vitamin B12, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium – all of which have been found to be associated with reduced depression and anxiety symptoms⁶.

 

Developing products with mental wellbeing in mind

 A deeper understanding of how diet impacts overall wellbeing and better health is crucial as people increasingly turn to nutrition for mental health. Knowing how foods like fruits, vegetables, seafood and dairy can support our mental wellbeing helps us make small changes to optimise our diet. This can in turn make a big difference to how we feel and perform throughout the day.

Consumers are increasingly turning to nutrition to improve their overall wellbeing with over 90% focusing on product attributes when purchasing with ingredients as a top consideration¹.

On top of natural nutrition-rich foods, consumers are looking to functional products that can boost specific aspects of health and wellbeing.

To capture new consumer needs, companies should expand their portfolios to include products containing functional ingredients that are able to support holistic goals. When innovating, important consideration should be given to determining the viable and preferred format. For instance, probiotics should not be formulated into products that require heating before consumption as they are sensitive to high temperatures. They need to reach the consumer in a live state to influence gut bacteria effectively and support overall brain health. 

 

Explore our science-backed, consumer-tested and market-ready mental wellbeing concepts:

In addition to access to science-backed ingredients such as probiotics and phospholipids that support mental wellbeing, Nutiani’s specialists offer innovation support and formulation expertise to ensure end-products can address consumers’ growing nutrition needs. 

Partner with us and we can help innovate your next mental wellbeing product. 
 

1. IPSOS Nutiani, Consumer Wellness Research (August 2021)

2. Boyle NB, Dye L, Arkbåge K, Thorell L, Frederiksen P, Croden F, & Lawton C. Effects of milk-based phospholipids on cognitive performance and subjective responses to psychosocial stress: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in high-perfectionist men. Nutrition. 2019;57:183-193.

3. Benton D, Donohoe RT, Sillance B, & Nabb S. The Influence of Phosphatidylserine Supplementation on Mood and Heart Rate when Faced with an Acute Stressor. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2001;4(3):169-78.

4. Kosicek M & Hecimovic S. Phospholipids and Alzheimer’s Disease: Alterations, Mechanisms and Potential Biomarkers. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013;14(1):1310–1322.

5. Deans E. Microbiome and mental health in the modern environment. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 2017;36:1.

6. Nakamura M, et al. Low Zinc, Copper, and Manganese Intake is Associated with Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in the Japanese Working Population: Findings from the Eating Habit and Well-Being Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(4):847.

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This information is intended for B2B customers, suppliers and distributors, and is not intended as information for final consumers. Regulatory jurisdictions globally approach product claim requirements differently. In developing claims for final product labels, manufacturers should seek guidance to assure compliance with the appropriate regulatory authority.