Fighting depression successfully with a plant-based diet

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salad(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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  • Tina Mcree

    Great article, I found this to be true. The type of diet you mention makes one feel lighter. The heaviness is lifted. Everything looks brighter.

    • Susan C. Wheeler

      I have found this to be true too. I wasn’t necessarily depressed per say, but did have the blues from time to time, actually more than I now realize. I have a more positive attitude in general because I feel better as well.

  • Joe Vazquez

    To be sure I keep healthy I consume highly nutritional food. A large part of my diet is plant food. I am big on vegetable juices, fruits and small amounts of protein.

    Over the years it has served me well. When I see other people my age drag around I realize what a good diet can do. Thanks for pointing this out. It isn’t obvious, many people don’t see the connection.

    How could anyone be upbeat if they don’t have enough energy to get around.

  • Rital Winston

    If depression is the result of nutritional depletion then fruits and vegetables are going to help. Depression has as one of its root causes vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

  • Amy Logan

    Eating more fruits and vegetables gives a person more energy. This means they are going to be more active and get more exercise. This alone helps makes people feel better and happier.

  • Ida Folley

    I am not sure why, but eating heavy meals makes people sluggish and tied. It’s like the good energy isn’t flowing. This may not be depression, but it serves to warn us that energy and vigor are capable of making us feel up-lifted.