Eat vegetables daily to reduce stress


Daily consumption of vegetables contributes to a reduction in the prevalence of psychological distress. Apparently, this is especially true of adults over the age of 60, who were the object of this study.

Growing scientific evidence suggests a link between food and mental health. Australian researchers at Sydney University studied the subject, in particular to measure the relationship between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and the incidence of psychological distress amongst adults.

A broad sample of adults

This analysis was based on a sample of nearly 60,000 adults over the age of 45, from the database of the Australian Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study. The participants (53.6% women), aged on average 62.2, were followed for more than two and a half years.

Their stress was measured on the Kessler scale, with a questionnaire on general anxiety and depression. Their usual consumption of fruit and vegetables was analysed with short questions.

More vegetables, less stress

Result: moderate consumption of 3 to 4 portions of vegetables daily is associated with 12% less psychological stress than that associated with the consumption of 0 to 1 portion. Moderate daily intake of fruit only, however, did not have any particularly significant benefit on the stress levels of the participants in this study.

The researchers also found that the consumption of fruit and vegetables was more beneficial for the women than the men in their sample. The women who consumed 5 to 7 portions of fruit and vegetables daily (compared to 0 or 1 portion) reduced their risk of stress by 23%.

This study promotes the consumption of fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet and confirms the benefits of fruit and vegetables on mental health.  Nonetheless, the association between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and the incidence of psychological distress requires further investigation.

The Louis Bonduelle Foundation produces and distributes information to help change our daily eating habits for the better.

Find other articles on the health benefits of vegetables here.

Nguyen B. et al., BMJ Open, 15/03/2017; 7: e014201.

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