Paris, March 20, 2022 – Put your apron on! Because cooking has healing benefits for both your mental and physical health.
That’s the finding of a study conducted by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) and other universities in Australia and published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
And the positive effects are not just about changing your diet; the activity in itself boosts confidence and satisfaction.
To conduct their study, the researchers were able to take advantage of a partnership between their university and a learn-to-cook program called Jamie’s Ministry of Food initiative from The Good Foundation.
Between 2016 and 2018, 657 participants, two-thirds of whom were overweight, took part in a seven-week program to learn how to cook healthy food.
At the same time, experts “measured the program’s effect on participants’ cooking confidence and self-perceived mental health, as well as their overall satisfaction around cooking and diet-related behaviors.”
As for the results, volunteers who completed the program experienced “significant improvements in general health, mental health and subjective vitality immediately after the program.” These benefits were still present six months after the program ended.
This improvement can be explained by a change in diet. According to a previous study, eating more fruits and vegetables would improve mental health in the longer term.
However, “participants’ mental health improved despite their reported diet not being found to have changed after completing the program,” the study explains.
“This suggests a link between cooking confidence and satisfaction around cooking, and mental health benefits,” said Dr Joanna Rees, the study’s lead researcher, in a statement. – AFP