(NaturalHealth365) The benefits of fruits and vegetables for fighting depression have recently been demonstrated in a major study. Up to eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day were found in some cases to cause immediate improvements to psychological well-being.
The new research proves that incorporating more vegetables and fruits in the diet reduces the risk of depression and increases happiness levels. The study of over 12,000 people was a joint effort between the University of Queensland, Australia and the University of Warwick, England.
Shout out to every psychologist: Fighting depression with fruits and vegetables is a smart choice
Participants with little to no fruits or vegetables in their diets were shifted to a plan that included up to eight servings per day. Increases in well-being occurred almost immediately in some cases and continued over two years.
The benefits of fruits and vegetables for fighting depression also increased the more servings that were were eaten. Overall happiness and well-being were found to rise higher for each additional portion of vegetables or fruits consumed per day, up to eight servings.
The study surveyed 12,000 people, selected at random, with assessments in terms of psychological well-being, as well as instructions to kept a food journal. Those who improved their diet in terms of fruit and vegetable consumption enjoyed major positive benefits to their mental and emotional health over 24 months.
Psychological benefits of fruits and vegetables appear faster than physical improvements
Eating more fruits and vegetables boosts happiness levels more quickly than it improves physical health. While eating more fruits and vegetables has other health benefits like protection against cancer and heart disease, it can take longer for these benefits to show up in reality.
By contrast, help with fighting depression seems to happen much faster with this type of eating plan. In some cases, levels of well-being rose immediately. Of course, the results were adjusted if participants’ personal circumstances or incomes changed to influence study results.
Typical Western diet found to contribute to depression
These findings are particularly meaningful in light of the fact that the typical Western diet is low in fruits and vegetables and high in sugar, carbohydrates and processed foods. All of these foods have been linked with increasing the risk of depression.
While research has established that eating fruits and vegetables regularly contributes to reduced risk of cancer and heart attacks, this is the first study to show so clearly that these foods can help with fighting depression. There is also a link between antioxidants and optimism, which researchers believe is due to higher levels of carotenoid in the blood.
Few foods bring such a wealth of positive dividends to health and well-being as fruits and vegetables. Strive to consume five to eight servings per day. Favor organic choices that are high in antioxidants such as leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, berries, kiwi, pineapple and avocado.
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