Nutrition

Mental health: the raw fruits and vegetables that make you feel on top

According to a new study, the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables has a more significant positive impact on different aspects of mental health than that of processed fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables contain many micronutrients that play a key role in the body’s physical and psychological functions. Studies have shown that a high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental health. This new study, conducted by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand, provides a higher level of precision. She makes the distinction between raw and processed fruits and vegetables in the analysis of the relationship between their consumption and mental health in young adults.

Several aspects of mental health observed

422 young people between the ages of 12 and 25 living in New Zealand and the USA took part in this cross-sectional study. They completed an online survey to assess 3 components:

– the usual consumption of raw and processed fruits and vegetables (cooked, canned and frozen),

– positive and negative aspects of mental health (depressive symptoms, anxiety, negative mood, positive mood, life satisfaction and fulfillment),

– factors related to demography and health, likely to affect the association (socio-economic status, BMI, sleep, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol).

The results show that raw fruit and vegetable intake predicts reduced depressive syndromes and higher positive mood, life satisfaction and fulfillment. On the other hand, the intake of processed fruits and vegetables only predicted an increase in positive mood.

The best fruits and vegetables to be in a good mood

The researchers concluded that, when the factors are controlled, intake of raw fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental health than that of processed fruits and vegetables. This could be explained by the decrease in the nutrient content of certain foods caused by cooking, canning or processing.

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Although not able to establish a causal link, the study specifies the 10 raw fruits and vegetables that are most linked to good mental health. These are:

  • – Carrots,
  • – Bananas,
  • – Apples,
  • – Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach,
  • – Grapefruits,
  • – Lettuces,
  • – Citrus,
  • – Fresh berries,
  • – Cucumbers,
  • – Kiwi fruit.

Source

Brookie K., et al. Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and Vegetables Frontiers in Psychology, 2018,

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