Can baking improve your mental health? © iStock

Can baking improve your mental health?

Creativity, goal-oriented behaviour and focused attention are all central to baking, and are associated with positivity and a sense of accomplishment.

Asked by: BBC Focus – The Great British Bake Off Q&A special

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Probably. Since Great British Bake Off winner John Waite published a cookbook explaining how baking helped him cope with depression, baking’s effects on mental health have been under the spotlight.

Creativity, goal-oriented behaviour and focused attention are all central to baking, and are associated with positivity and a sense of accomplishment. Other potential benefits come from engaging less-used senses – particularly touch, taste and smell – and from the rewarding feeling of making something that can be shared.

However, most of the evidence for the link with mental health is anecdotal. A small study in 2004 in the UK suggested that baking classes boosted confidence in a class of inpatients in mental health clinics, but the Great British Baking Benefits Experiment has yet to be conducted.

This question was part of The Great British Bake Off Q&A special, which appeared in the September 2015 issue of BBC Focus magazine.


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