Could eating fruit more often keep depression at bay?

·1-min read
AGE FOTOSTOCK

We all know how important following a balanced diet is for maintaining health and wellbeing.

But in addition to eating vegetables and healthy snacks, researchers from Aston University have reported that regularly eating fruit may also have an impact on our mental health.

The team surveyed over 420 adults from across the U.K. and looked at the relationship between their consumption of fruit, vegetables, sweet and savoury food snacks, and their psychological health.

Accordingly, they found that how often we eat fruit is more important to our psychological health than the total amount we consume during a typical week.

The researchers also noted that people who eat savoury snacks such as crisps, which are low in nutrients, are more likely to report greater levels of anxiety.

"Very little is known about how diet may affect mental health and wellbeing, and while we did not directly examine causality here, our findings could suggest that frequently snacking on nutrient-poor savoury foods may increase everyday mental lapses, which in turn reduces psychological health," said lead author, PhD student Nicola-Jayne Tuck. "Both fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fibre and essential micronutrients which promote optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking. As we are more likely to eat fruit raw, this could potentially explain its stronger influence on our psychological health.

"It is possible that changing what we snack on could be a really simple and easy way to improve our mental wellbeing... Overall, it's definitely worth trying to get into the habit of reaching for the fruit bowl."

Full study results were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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