(NaturalHealth365) While eating fruits and vegetables, in any form, is beneficial to our health – eating them in their raw form seems to have a particularly positive effect on mental wellbeing, according to new research.
Public health campaigns tend to mainly focus on the recommended quantity of fruit and vegetables to be consumed – with a standard recommendation of ‘five servings per day.’ But, there’s so much more to consider – especially if you want to avoid depression or any other serious health condition.
Direct link between eating raw fruits and vegetables and your mood
In short, the more pure and unmodified the fruit or vegetable, the better the health benefits to mood and state of mind. Cooking, processing and heating fruits and vegetables can change the cellular structure of food – and reduce the levels of many (essential) nutrients.
In the study, over 400 young adults ages 18 to 25 from the U.S. and New Zealand were studied. Young adults were chosen because they typically consume the least amounts of fruits and vegetables and tend to be at a higher risk for mental health issues, according to the researchers.
The participants were studied in terms of cooked versus raw fruits and vegetables consumed and their mental health status. Variables related to lifestyle and demographics were also factored in, such as sleep and exercise patterns, socioeconomic status and current physical health.
Raw dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and dark colored berries top list of mood-enhancing foods
The researchers found a direct and undeniable link between raw fruit and vegetable consumption and a lowered risk of depression and other mental health issues.
Those who eat more raw fruits and vegetables also tend to have a more positive mood and outlook on life. They experience increased levels of life satisfaction and are more likely to thrive and flourish in life. Those who ate cooked fruits and vegetables did not experience the same mental health benefits.
Researchers found that the top foods to improve mood and mental health included dark leafy greens – like kale and collard green, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, kiwifruit, apples, grapefruit and other citrus fruits, bananas and fresh berries.
Eating raw fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of chronic inflammation
Unhealthy eating patterns have already been linked with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and increased incidence of stroke. However, as we can see, our eating habits can also profoundly affect our mood and mental health, as this study shows.
Sugar, chemicals and preservatives in processed foods tend to increase the risk of chronic inflammation – which is a precursor to many health conditions (mentioned above), including depression.
The moral of the story? Keep eating those fruits and vegetables and strive to “go raw” as much as you can. (enjoy!)
Sources for this article include:
About the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of NaturalHealth365.com, the NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show – and the NaturalHealth365 INNER CIRCLE, a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.
Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host, Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic, non-GMO diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits, including exercise and meditation.
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