The prevalence of adverse mental health outcomes in adults is increasing. Although beneficial effects of selected micronutrients and foods on mental health have been reported, they do not reflect the impact of the habitual diet on mental health. Therefore, our objective is to examine potential associations between dietary quality, dietary composition and compliance with food pyramid recommendations with depressive symptoms, anxiety and well-being (assessed using CES-D, HADS-A and WHO-5 screening tools) in a cross-sectional sample of 2047 middle-aged adults. Diet was assessed using a self-completed FFQ. Chi-square tests, t
-tests and logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the associations between dietary components and mental health outcomes. Dietary quality, but not dietary composition or guideline adherence, was associated with well-being. Those with high dietary quality were more likely to report well-being (OR =1.67, 95% CI 1.15–2.44, p
= 0.007) relative to those with low dietary quality. This remained significant among females (OR = 1.92, (95% CI 1.14–3.23, p
= 0.014) and non-obese individuals (OR = 2.03, 95% CI 1.28–3.20, p
= 0.003). No associations between any dietary measures with anxiety or depressive symptoms were observed. These novel results highlight the importance of dietary quality in maintaining optimal psychological well-being. Better understanding of the relationship between dietary quality and mental health may provide insight into potential therapeutic or intervention strategies to improve mental health and well-being.
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