A recent study found that people who regularly ate plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, were less likely to experience negative mental health symptoms related to depression, stress, and anxiety. Learn more about dietary patterns and the potential psychological effects that can occur in this research update.
Sometimes the general stress we experience from interacting with the world around us feels overwhelming. But what if we could help relieve some of our stress just by making different food choices? in recent study Posted in British Journal of NutritionIt was found that the nutritional benefits associated with fruits and vegetables also have positive effects on mental health.
Participants in this online study were 428 healthy men and women aged 18-60 years. During the study, participants completed questionnaires about their eating habits and mental health. The questionnaire also included questions about general health, weekly alcohol intake, exercise habits, and smoking status of the participants. In the study, participants who ate whole, nutrient-rich plant foods reported positive mental health. Meanwhile, participants who ate nutrient-poor foods, such as highly processed snack foods, reported negative mental health experiences in the form of anxiety, depression, and stress.
We know that diet can affect mental health, but research has not fully revealed the relationship between mental health and poor dietary patterns. However, researchers believe that diets rich in energy (calories) but low in micronutrients, antioxidants, and fiber can reduce optimal brain function, which can negatively affect mental health and increase cognitive dysfunction. So, eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and feel happy!
in future studySnack foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acids were found to be associated with an increased risk of depression in participants 8-10 years after the initial study. This information, along with the results of the current study, shows that mental health can be positively affected by nutrient-rich plant foods or negatively affected by nutrient-poor foods. This is powerful information! What we eat matters now and in the future. If we feed our bodies the nutrients it needs to survive and excel, our physical and mental health can improve dramatically. On the other hand, if we neglect our nutritional needs, the consequences can negatively affect our quality of life.
For other botanical research studies, check out the latest:
main picture: Red Quinoa Berry Breakfast Bowl By Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
- Sánchez-Villegas, A, Verberne, L, De Irala, J, et al. (2011) Dietary fat intake and depression risk: The SUN Project. Plus One 26, 162–168.
- Tuck, N., Farrow, C., & Thomas, J. (2022). Frequent consumption of fruit and tasty snacks is predictive of mental health; Selective mediation via cognitive failure. British Journal of Nutrition, 1-10. doi: 10.1017/S0007114522001660