(Natural News) Following a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health.
But did you know that eating lots of fresh produce can also help you manage your depression?
According to a study, the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables is linked to better mental health. Most of the time, public health campaigns emphasize the need to consume at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. However, there are other factors that must also be taken into account to prevent depression or other serious health conditions.
How does fresh produce affect your mood and mental health?
The study’s results showed that “the more pure and unmodified the fruit or vegetable, the better the health benefits to mood and state of mind.” This means cooking or processing fruits and vegetables may change the cellular structure of food and reduce the levels of various beneficial nutrients.
For the study, researchers observed more than 400 young adults. The participants, who were aged 18 to 25, were from the U.S. and New Zealand.
This age group was chosen since it often consists of people who rarely consume the daily recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. The researchers explained that this age group also had a greater higher risk of developing mental health issues.
The researchers took note of the participants’ consumption of fruits and vegetables (raw vs. cooked), along with the latter’s mental health status. The scientists also considered factors linked to the participants’ lifestyle and demographics like current physical health, sleep and exercise patterns, and socioeconomic status.
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After analyzing the data, the researchers determined that there was a solid connection between raw fruit and vegetable consumption and a reduced risk of depression and other mental health concerns.
In the study, the researchers found that individuals who consumed more raw produce had a tendency of having a “more positive mood and outlook on life.” The participants reported that they had higher levels of life satisfaction. They were also more likely to succeed in life.
Meanwhile, those who ate processed fruits and vegetables did not receive the same mental health benefits. (Related: Science confirms that a diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains is good for body and mind.)
The researchers confirmed that these foods can help boost mood and mental health:
- Citrus fruits
- Dark leafy greens (e.g., kale and collard greens)
Unhealthy eating patterns have been linked to chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and increased incidence of stroke. But by making the necessary changes to your diet, you can notice a significant improvement in your mood and mental health. Avoid foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, and sugar since they can increase the risk of chronic inflammation, which is connected to several health conditions, such as depression.
The next time you’re feeling down, try incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet to boost your mood.
Other foods linked to better mental health
Aside from the foods listed above, here are other foods that can help boost your mood:
- Dark chocolate — Consuming some dark chocolate, or about 1.4 ounces (oz.), daily for at least two weeks can help lower the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in highly stressed individuals. Do take note that 1.4 oz. of dark chocolate contains about 200 calories.
- Fatty fish — Fatty fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, and tuna can help lower anxiety since they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a crucial ingredient that can help boost your mood.
- Green tea — Drinking at least two to three cups of green tea daily can help reduce the symptoms of depression among the elderly. Green tea contains mood-boosting nutrients like L-theanine, an amino acid that can fight anxiety.
- Oysters — Aside from being an aphrodisiac, oysters can also boost your mood. Oysters are full of zinc, a nutrient that can ease anxiety. It also helps improve sleep quality, which is necessary for mental health. Other foods that contain zinc include beef, cashews, eggs, and liver.
Read more articles about the link between a healthy diet and mental health at Healing.news.