Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is associated with less stress, according to new research.
Published: May 14, 2021
Source: Edith Cowan University
The study examined the link between fruit and vegetable intake and stress levels of more than 8,600 Australians aged between 25 and 91 participating in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) Study from Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.
The findings revealed people who ate at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily had 10 per cent lower stress levels than those who consumed less than 230 grams. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day.
Mental health conditions are an increasing problem around the world. Globally, approximately 1 in 10 people live with a mental health disorder.
Although some stress is considered normal, long-term exposure can significantly impact mental health. Long-term and unmanaged stress can lead to a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety.
The benefits of a healthy diet are well known, but only 1 in 2 people eat the recommended two serves of fruit per day and fewer than 1 in 10 eat the recommended five serves of vegetables each day.
While the mechanisms behind how fruit and vegetable consumption influences stress are still unclear, key nutrients could be a factor; vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and therefore improve mental wellbeing.
These findings encourage more research into diet and specifically what fruits and vegetables provide the most benefits for mental health.
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Materials provided by Edith Cowan University. Content may be edited for style and length.
- Simone Radavelli-Bagatini, Lauren C. Blekkenhorst, Marc Sim, Richard L. Prince, Nicola P. Bondonno, Catherine P. Bondonno, Richard Woodman, Reindolf Anokye, James Dimmock, Ben Jackson, Leesa Costello, Amanda Devine, Mandy J. Stanley, Joanne M. Dickson, Dianna J. Magliano, Jonathan E. Shaw, Robin M. Daly, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Joshua R. Lewis. Fruit and vegetable intake is inversely associated with perceived stress across the adult lifespan. Clinical Nutrition, 2021; 40 (5): 2860 DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.03.043