Improving mental wellbeing through a healthy diet

Dr. Alejandro Arias Vasquez
Dr. Jeanette Mostert
About the Author

Dr. Jeanette Mostert specializes in Cognitive Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry and is the Dissemination Manager for several Horizon2020 projects, including CoCA, PRIME and Eat2BeNice/New Brain Nutrition.

Jeanette C. Mostert & Alejandro Arias Vasquez from the Departments of Genetics and Psychiatry at Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, The Netherlands, lift the lid on improving mental wellbeing through a healthy diet

We know that healthy eating, plenty of sleep, social involvement and regular exercise are good for our health. Less well known is that these lifestyle factors are also beneficial for mental health. A better understanding of how lifestyle ­– and diet, in particular, – influence how the brain works, is of key importance to improving the mental wellbeing of European citizens.

A good understanding of what causes mental disorders is still far away. We know that genes play a significant role, as these conditions often run in families, but that is only part of the story. Whether, and when, someone develops a mental health condition is determined by a combination of factors, including a person’s environment and lifestyle.

The environmental factors contributing to mental disorders have the power to affect a person’s brain functioning, thereby increasing the chances of developing a disorder. This can, for instance, be due to stressors early in life, pollutants in the environment, low socioeconomic status, or poor diet. Many of these environmental pressures are difficult to modify, especially for an individual. However, diet and physical activity can be readily modified and adapted based on personal needs and circumstances, at any moment in someone’s life. They, therefore, provide a perfect target for intervention strategies to improve mental health.

The Horizon2020-funded project “Effects of Nutrition and Lifestyle on Impulsive, Compulsive, and Externalizing behaviours – Eat2beNICE” (No 728018), aims to unravel the biological mechanisms that link diet to mental wellbeing, to formulate nutrition and lifestyle recommendations for brain health.

To generate a better understanding of how diet and mental wellbeing are intertwined, the Eat2beNICE consortium brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines, working at 18 different partner institutes across Europe.

More information:

The article can be found here:

The complete online magazine can be found here: