Recent Study Finds Link Between Diet and Fitness on Mood and Stress Levels

A recent study’s results  propose that a peak day of the week may be associated with different mental stressors. Those who display higher physical fitness may relax faster during downtime. There is a potential robust link between diet and fitness on mood, stress levels, and time of the week. This suggests that customization of diet and lifestyle factors based on time of the week and fitness level may improve mood. Check out the full text and abstract below.


The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of diet quality and physical fitness on saliva cortisol, mood, and mental distress. These relationships were compared between a peak weekday (Wednesday) and a weekend day (Saturday) when mood may fluctuate. Methods: Forty-eight healthy college students participated in the study. Participants completed the Mood and Anxiety Symptom (MASQ) and Kessler Psychological Distress Scale 10 questionnaires on Wednesday and Saturday and recorded their diet for three days. Saliva was collected before and after a workout for cortisol extraction. Results: SA had significantly higher saliva cortisol levels post-workout but lower MASQ scores on Saturday (p < 0.05). There was a very significant association between MASQ scores on Wednesday (p = 0.005), which became less significant on Saturday. In addition, lower BMI values and high-fat consumption were associated with higher cortisol levels after exercise (p < 0.05). Conclusions: There is a strong link between dietary factors, cortisol levels, mood, and time of the week. In addition, our results suggest that saliva cortisol levels may not be directly linked to negative affect but are influenced by diet quality when mental distress exists. In addition, physical fitness may play a role in improving mood during weekends.

Begdache L., Sadeghzadeh S., Pearlmutter P., et al. Dietary Factors, Time of the Week, Physical Fitness and Salivary Cortisol: Their Modulatory Effect on Mental Distress and Mood. J Environ Res Public Health. 2022; 19(12):7001. 10.3390/ijerph19127001

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