Cooking confidence might bolster mental, physical health

Cooking confidence might bolster mental, physical health

Life’s struggles got you feeling blue? Australian scientists have come up with a recipe that might cure the doldrums: work on your kitchen skills.

Researchers at Edith Cowan University found that a seven-week healthy cooking course increased participants’ confidence in the kitchen and improved their mental and physical health.

The study tracked 657 people who took a healthy cooking class and were quizzed on their mental and physical health. Results were compared to a control group that did not receive instruction.

Improvements in perceived mental and physical health, in addition to self-reported vitality, were noted immediately after the course and were maintained even six months afterward. Folks also described more easily overcoming lifestyle barriers to eating healthier.

Even so, participants say their diet didn’t really change after the cooking class ended. Prior research has shown that eating a healthy diet packed with fruits and vegetable can improve long-term mental health.

The study’s authors suggest that cooking confidence, and overall satisfaction about cooking, somehow elevated mental health. The process of food preparation, it seems, added health value.

But they warn that more research is needed before making any conclusions about causation. It’s possible, for example, that simply taking part in a fun group activity played a part in making participants feel better about themselves.

Knowing how to cook certainly can lead to making healthier food choices, scientists say. But results here are not clear cut.

One might say, however, that the study provides much food for thought.

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