Eating more fruit and vegetables linked to less stress: Study
A new study in Australia shows that higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with lower stress as compared to those who do not eat fruits regularly.
The study was conducted by researchers at Edith Cowan University in Perth and published the journal Clinical Nutrition.
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.
Lead researcher, PhD candidate Simone Radavelli-Bagatini from ECU's Institute for Nutrition Research, said the study strengthens the link between diets rich in fruit and vegetables and mental wellbeing.
"We found that people who have higher fruit and veggie intakes are less stressed than those with lower intakes, which suggests diet plays a key role in mental wellbeing," said Radavelli-Bagatini.
A growing issue
Mental health conditions are an increasing problem in Australia and around the world, especially since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Around one in two Australians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime.
Experts say some stress is considered normal, but 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 so we need to find ways to prevent and possibly alleviate mental health problems in the future," said Radavelli-Bagatini.
While the mechanisms behind how fruit and vegetable consumption influence stress are still unclear, Radavelli-Bagatini said key nutrients could be a factor.
"Vegetables and fruits contain important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and therefore improve mental wellbeing," she said.
"Inflammation and oxidative stress in the body are recognized factors that can lead to increased stress, anxiety and lower mood."