Fruits And Veggies May Help Beat Depression And Boost Mental Health
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Fruits And Veggies May Help Beat Depression And Boost Mental Health

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Researchers have given solid evidence of the psychological benefits of a balanced meal. They said that naturally-grown food has the potential to fight depression in less than two weeks.

Study leader Dr. Tamlin Conner of the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues studied 171 adults aged between 18 and 25 about their dietary habits. They were split into three groups to investigate the effects of having a diet high in fruit and vegetables.

Over a fortnight, they either continued eating as normal, or were encouraged by text reminders and pre-paid vouchers to eat more fruit and vegetables. Or they were personally given two extra daily servings of fresh produce.

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Participants were subjected to psychological assessments that evaluated mood, vitality, motivation, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other determinants of mental health and well-being.

Those in the last group reported significant improvements to their psychological well-being, with boosts in vitality and motivation. However, those reminded by text and given $10 vouchers did not show a similar improvement. And, when surveyed, were found more likely to have eaten cooked vegetables in casseroles or mixed in with other meals. Dr Conner said, “The message from this study is we should be giving people more fruits and vegetables to eat, not simply reminding people to eat their 5+ a day.”

Furthermore, no improvements were seen in symptoms of depression and anxiety in any of the groups. “The majority of research linking depression to dietary patterns has been longitudinal, meaning that possible differences in ill-being may be established over a much longer period of time rather than our brief 2-week period,” note the authors.

The study was recently reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture, adults should aim to consume around two cups of fruits and around two to three cups of vegetables daily. One cup of fruits is the equivalent to half a grapefruit or a large orange, and one cup of vegetables is proportionate to one large red pepper or a large, baked sweet potato. As part of a healthful diet, fruits and veggies can help reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Conner said, “People in dormitories, children in day-care centers, patients in hospitals, employees in the workplace, could be provided with fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.” But she added that further research is needed to address whether eating more fresh produce might make differences to people’s ill-being, including conditions such as depression.

Abhisikta Ganguly
Abhisikta Ganguly
I am an ordinary girl with extraordinary dreams which I live with to fulfill. People find me to be an upbeat, self-motivated team player. I will work until my idols become my rivals. I love adventures and love to explore the unknown from the very known thing. Besides, I love singing, writing and reading stories, listen to music and watching cartoons and movies.

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