According to a new study by the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, people who often eat fruit are more likely to report better mental health and less likely to talk about symptoms of depression than those who do not.
The researchers’ findings show that how often we eat fruits is more important for our psychological health than their total amount per week. The team also found that people who eat spicy snacks with low nutrient content, such as chips, are more likely to report higher levels of anxiety.
The study involved 428 UK adults. The relationship between their consumption of fruits, vegetables, sweet and salty snacks and their psychological health was studied. Taking into account demographic and lifestyle factors such as age, general health, and exercise, the study found that both nutrient-rich fruits and unsweetened savory snacks appear to be associated with psychological health. They also found that there is no direct link between eating vegetables and psychological health.
Other studies have found a link between fruits and vegetables and mental health, but few have looked at fruits and vegetables separately, and even fewer have assessed both the frequency and amount of consumption. Both fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber and essential trace elements that contribute to optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking. Since we eat fruits raw more often, this could potentially explain their stronger impact on our psychological health.
It’s possible that changing what we snack on could be a simple and easy way to improve our mental well-being.