What are the benefits of a Mediterranean diet on mood?

Binghamton University
New Hyde Park, New York
DOI: 10.18258/12514
Raised of $2,400 Goal
Funded on 3/29/19
Successfully Funded
  • $2,400
  • 100%
  • Funded
    on 3/29/19

About This Project

The field of nutritional neuroscience has made strides in understanding the role of diet on brain function and health. This is a randomized controlled study as participants are randomly assigned to interventional groups. Diet intervention participants are put on a Mediterranean diet for 4 weeks while assessing their mood and anthropometric measurements. The goal of this research is to test the hypothesis that diet could have a direct effect on mental wellbeing.

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What is the context of this research?

The integration of neuroscience and nutrition disciplines is an emerging field. The brain requires a repertoire of nutrients to support its function and morphology. Observational studies on the Mediterranean diet has shown that followers of the diet exhibit better mental health and cognitive functions. Since college students are known to have high levels of stress, mental health among college students has become a major health concern. Our preliminary data is very promising. The traditional Western diet is high in simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, that have been associated with depressed mood.

What is the significance of this project?

Mental health has become a major issue in our society. This research will evaluate the possible positive effects the diet can have on mood and anxiety. This research also has the opportunity to educate participants to be healthier and well rounded on the Mediterranean diet and its lifestyle. The educational component to this research is vital since all participants are personally monitored and counseled by a research assistant. Participants in this research walk away with better education about nutrients and how what their diet may affect their physical and mental health in general. We hope to disseminate the research findings through poster presentations at scientific meetings and through publications in peer-reviewed journals.

What are the goals of the project?

We hypothesize that a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, can have a positive, improved impact on mood and anxiety in college students. Currently, recommendations for diet and health are “one size fits all”. Individuals may need customized adjustment in their diet to improve mental health without resorting to medications. Through the use of surveys and monitored diet participant mood patterns will be able to be tracked by our team of researchers. The short term goals of this research is to build a foundation for the relationship between what we eat and the mental effects this can have on college aged students.


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One of the biggest challenges our research team is facing is the high cost of eating healthy in the University dining halls which is causing a large number of dropouts. Typically, we recruit students with a meal plan and guide them to eat a Mediterranean diet. The average cost of a meal for students is $6-$8 a day. Those following the interventional study are spending double that amount, since healthy food costs more. Many students are dropping out because of this hinderance. We hope that with proper funding we will be able to offset the extra expense incurred and hopefully retaining more participants in the study. With this funding of $2,140 we will be able to fund 12 participants for the semester.

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Project Timeline

With funding we hope to take on 20 intervention participants in the Spring 2019 semester. Each round of data collection will have 10 participants and last 4 weeks of the semester. Upon completion of one cycle we will begin the second for another 4 weeks.

Apr 01, 2016

Began Pilot Study/Initial Data collection 

Aug 23, 2018

Collected data from Initial Participants 

Nov 12, 2018

Awarded Funding from Univerity for Lab Equipment 

Feb 12, 2019

Project Launched

May 31, 2019

Share semester data with backers 

Meet the Team

Cassandra Abrams
Cassandra Abrams
Lead Research Assistant
Dr. Lina Begdache
Dr. Lina Begdache

Team Bio

This interdisciplinary team is composed of undergraduate students studying for careers in the healthcare industry. All research assistants are highly educated in the field of nutritional and biological sciences. Every team member has shown personal interest in health and wellness and has contributed their time and effort on countless occasions to get this research to where it is today.

Cassandra Abrams

B.S in Integrative Neuroscience, Health and Wellness Studies Minor

As a current health and wellness and neuroscience student I have spent my university years studying the profound effects diet and exercise can have on the body. Through my education at Binghamton University I have discovered a genuine interest in studying the pathology of the gut brain barrier. I hope to further this education as well as demonstrate to my peers the benefits a healthy diet maintained at school can have on mood and outlook of life.

Dr. Lina Begdache

Dr. Begdache is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a cell and molecular biologist with dissertation research concentration in neuroscience. She is an assistant professor in the Health and Wellness studies at Binghamton University. Her research focus mainly is in nutritional neurosciences and related fields.

Additional Information

Check out our website: https://meddiet.myfreesites.net/

Project Backers

  • 16Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $2,400Total Donations
  • $150.00Average Donation
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