Laura Forbes, Associate Professor, PhD, RD

Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
University of Guelph

Food affects mood within individuals and in the next generation!

What we eat not only impacts our physical health, but also substantially affects our psychological wellbeing. There is large body of evidence from epidemiological studies that consuming a high-quality diet and adherence to the Mediterranean diet, as well as higher intakes of nutrients with anti-inflammatory or antioxidant potential are associated with lower depressive symptoms or anxiety. Moreover, dietary interventions, high-dose multi-nutrient supplementations, and probiotic or prebiotic supplementation have shown promising results in improving mental health outcomes in psychiatric disorders. More interestingly, there is emerging evidence that these associations can go beyond one generation, and affect the next. Specifically, maternal pre-pregnancy and prenatal nutrition might affect the behavioral outcomes in the offspring, through impacting the fetal neurodevelopment.

By the end of this session, the attendees are expected to be able to describe:

  1. How might nutrition affect mental health in an individual?
  2. What dietary elements can affect mental health outcomes?
  3. How can maternal nutrition affect child behavioral outcomes?
  4. How can we use this knowledge to improve mental health outcomes in individuals and in the offspring of pregnant individuals?

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Laura Forbes is an Associate Professor and Registered Dietitian at the University of Guelph. She is a co-investigator with the APrON (Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes in Nutrition) study and main areas of research are about dietary sugar intake, weight gain and diet quality during pregnancy.