We’ve known for a while now that what we eat can have a major impact on our mental wellbeing (fibre-rich foods are great stress-busters, while avos are epic for easing anxiety.) But until today, we weren’t aware that when you eat is also super important. In fact, a new study out of the University of Tasmania says that regularly skipping meals – specifically, brekkie – puts a person at greater risk of depression.
WATCH: This Banana Blueberry Bread Is The Perfect Healthy Breakfast Option...
Researchers asked more than 1,000 people aged 26-36 to write down the timing of the meals they’d consumed the day before. In addition, each participant completed a mood disorder assessment, keeping a record of any symptoms of depression, dysthymia or bipolar disorder. Five years later, this process was repeated, with the findings suggesting that those who ate a late breakfast (or missed it entirely) were more likely to struggle with their mental health.
“Our study highlights that when you eat may be important for your health, not just what and how much you eat,” the study’s author, Johanna Wilson toldPsyPost. “We found that people who tended to skip or delay breakfast and consume a larger proportion of their daily food intake later in the day were more likely to have a mood disorder.”
“This may be due to hormonal and circadian effects of eating at a certain time, but it could also be due to whether someone is a morning or evening type person, known as chronotype,” she added.
The caveat? The study sample size: 1,000 people isn't big at all. Plus, a tell-tale symptom of depression is often lack of motivation, which can make it difficult to stick to a regular eating regime – or simply prepare a meal at all.
Lucy BodeLucy is Women Health’s digital editor, social media specialist and the go-to girl for all things holistic wellness. Her background as a journalist and passion for food, fitness and integrative medicine has led her to write for some of Australia’s leading publications over the course of her career.