In today’s world, stress is prevalent. Researchers are currently looking for ways to reduce stress through lifestyle interventions. A new study from Edith Cowan University (ECU) has found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with less stress.
The study aimed to find a link between fruit and vegetable intake and stress levels. To achieve this, they examined 8,600 Australians with ages between 25 and 91 who were participating in the Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) Study.
The study was able to conclude that people who ate at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily had 10 percent lower stress levels compared to those who consumed less than 230 grams. This amount is slightly over the recommended consumption from the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends consuming at least 400 grams per day.
Mental wellbeing is a subject that is quickly becoming a topic of conversation around the world. It has been found that globally, approximately 1 in 10 people live with a mental disorder. With lockdowns and pandemic worries worldwide over the past year, this number is expected to increase.
While some stress in life is normal, long-term exposure can significantly impact mental health. It can lead to a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. Researchers hope that by finding new links between foods and stress, they can possibly prevent and reduce mental health problems.
The benefits of a healthy diet have been well documented, but very few American’s get their daily recommended intake. This study helps to show the importance of consuming the right foods to keep the body and mind healthy.
Previous studies had shown the link between fruit and vegetables and stress in younger adults. However, this is the first study to find a similar relationship across all ages of adults.
How Food Influences Stress
The mechanisms of how fruits and vegetables influence stress are unclear, so future studies are needed.
“Vegetables and fruits contain important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and carotenoids that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and therefore improve mental wellbeing,” said lead researcher Simone Radavelli-Bagatini.
“Inflammation and oxidative stress in the body are recognized factors that can lead to increased stress, anxiety and lower mood.”
Researchers can now confirm that by adding more fruits and vegetables into a daily diet, mental wellbeing can be affected. In times such as these, with added stress, it is more important than ever to eat right and get plenty of exercise. Lifestyle choices can go a long way to living a healthy, happy life.