Research published in Clinical Nutrition has shown that eating more fruit and vegetables can lead to less stress.
For the study, the researchers examined more than 8,600 Australians aged between 25 and 91, assessing their dietary intake using a questionnaire. They also measured subjects' perceived stress using a validated Perceived Stress Questionnaire and performing multivariable-adjusted linear and logistic regression to investigate the associations between fruit and veg intake and perceived stress.
Results revealed that people who ate at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily had stress levels 10% lower than those who consumed less than 230 grams.
"We found that people who have higher fruit and veggie intakes are less stressed than those with lower intakes, which suggests diet plays a key role in mental well-being," said Simone Radavelli-Bagatini, lead researcher and PhD candidate at Edith Cowan University (ECU) Institute for Nutrition Research.
"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 Radavelli-Bagatini. "Inflammation and oxidative stress in the body are recognized factors that can lead to increased stress, anxiety and lower mood."
"These findings encourage more research into diet and specifically what fruits and vegetables provide the most benefits for mental health," she concluded.