Lifting your intake of fruit and vegetables can positively affect your mood, studies found
Fruits and vegetables are a pivotal part of a healthy diet, but their benefits are not limited to the physical well-being of a person. New research found that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may improve psychological well-being in as little as 2 weeks.
The study, led by Dr. Tamlin Conner of the Psychology Department in New Zealand’s University of Otago, revealed that young adults who ate additional fruits and vegetables every day for two weeks experienced an increase in motivation and vitality. It also encouraged them to increase their intake of such foods.
For their research, Conner and team enrolled 171 students between the ages of 18 and 25 and divided them into three groups for 2 weeks. One group continued with their normal eating patterns while the other one was personally handed two additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (including carrots, kiwi, apples, and oranges) each day. The remaining group was given prepaid produce vouchers and received text reminders to consume more fruits and vegetables.
Participants were subjected to psychological assessments that evaluated mood, vitality, motivation, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other determinants of mental health and well-being.
The resulting data showed that the second group, whose members were personally handed additional fruits and vegetables, ingested these foods the most in 14 days, at 3.7 servings. Most interestingly, they exhibited boosts in mental health, with particular improvements in motivation and vitality. As for the first and last groups, no improvements in mental health were observed.
Furthermore, no improvements were seen in symptoms of depression and anxiety in any of the groups. "The majority of research linking depression to dietary patterns has been longitudinal, meaning that possible differences in ill-being may be established over a much longer period of time rather than our brief 2-week period”, noted the authors.
However, this is the first study to show that providing high-quality fruits and vegetables to young adults can result in short-term improvements, as previously stated.
As a wise man once said, a healthy body is like a temple for a healthy mind. Body, mind, and soul are three essential components for bringing balance, happiness, and strength to our lives; the first step to achieve that is a clean diet.
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Baez
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto