February 17, 2021

Impact of nutrition on mental health is focus of upcoming Healthy Boiler workshop

Healthy Boiler behaviorial health graphic

As one of the pillars of the Healthy Boiler Program, behavioral health is a priority for Purdue employees. From noon to 1 p.m. on March 12, Megan Shidler, registered dietitian at the Center for Healthy Living (CHL), will present a virtual workshop on nutrition and mental health.

“Can we use food to boost our mood?” Shidler says. “Science has shown us that dietary changes can bring about physiological and chemical alterations in our brain. While food and diet may not be the magic cure to all mental illness, it can certainly be a valuable tool in promoting and restoring mental health.”

Although research into the connection between dietary changes and help with mental health problems is relatively new and somewhat limited, there is data available to support the theory. The 2017 SMILES trial – one of the first trials that examined the role of nutrition in treating moderate to severe depression – indicated that “dietary improvement may provide an efficacious and accessible treatment strategy for the management of this prevalent mental disorder, the benefits of which could extend to the management of common co-morbidities.” 

Additional observational studies have shown a link between overall diet quality and the risk of depression, including a 2013 study and 2017 review published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and more recently a 2019 study published by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine.  

“With all the stress and anxiety in today’s world, it’s nice to be able to share information on how certain types of foods can support their mental health,” Shidler says.

Those interested in attending should register by March 11 via the Healthy Boiler Portal. Registration link can be found under the “Engage” tab, “Wellness Events” on the portal’s homepage. Healthy Boiler workshops are free to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff and dependents covered on a Purdue medical plan.


Faculty and staff resources

Referred to by many names – behavioral health, mental health, emotional well-being and more -- one thing is certain, it’s important, and resources are available to faculty, staff and students at Purdue.

To assist students

Faculty and staff, who work with students or have a student at home, can direct students to the resources below for behavioral health assistance. Note: LiveHealth Online Psychology and LiveHealth Online Psychiatry services are also available to Purdue students who are covered on a Purdue health plan. Mental health visits through LiveHealth Online are covered at 100 percent on the Purdue student health plan.   

Office of the Dean of Students

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)


Contact Human Resources at 765-494-2222, toll-free at 877-725-0222 or via email at hr@purdue.edu.

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