Feeling down? Years of research have shown that consuming more green vegetables not only nourishes and contributes to your physical health, but can also improve your mental well-being. It doesn't require much. Even adding an extra serving of fruit or vegetables to your plate every day can enhance your mood.
Here are some of the recent findings:
- A British study from 2023 found that higher consumption of fruits was associated with feelings of calmness, self-confidence and energy.
- A 2022 Australian study on eating fruits and vegetables conducted among over 4,000 women revealed that those who consumed at least five servings of vegetables per day had a 19% lower risk of developing depression over a 15-year period compared to those who consumed no more than one serving. Regarding fruit, consuming four servings instead of one meant a 25% lower risk of experiencing depression.
- A meta-analysis of 18 studies showed that for every 100 grams of vegetables consumed by individuals, the risk of experiencing depressive symptoms decreased by 3%. Furthermore, a study examining food diaries found that the mental health benefits of increased vegetable consumption were comparable to the emotional effects following the acquisition of a new job after a prolonged period of unemployment.
- Researchers in Britain discovered that increasing daily fruit and vegetable intake by just one serving delivered a similar estimated improvement in mental well-being as eight days of engaging in a 10-minute walk.
"There is definitely growing evidence that high consumption of vegetables and fruits does contribute to mental well-being, particularly in dealing with anxiety," says Uma Naidoo MD, a physician and Director of Nutritional Psychiatry and Lifestyle at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA.