Greens help keep the blues away
Eating moderate amounts of vegetables each day has been linked with lower psychological stress, according to a University of Sydney study.
Published in BMJ Open, the longitudinal study of more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and above measured participants’ fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors and psychological distress at two time points, 2006–8 and 2010.
The study found that people who ate 3–4 daily serves of vegetables had a 12% lower risk of stress than those who ate 0–1 serves daily, while those who ate 5–7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 14% lower risk of stress than those who ate 0–4 serves daily.
Women who ate 3–4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18% lower risk of stress than women who ate 0–1 serves daily, and women who ate two daily serves of fruit had a 16% lower risk of stress than women who ate 0–1 serves daily.
Women who ate 5–7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 23% lower risk of stress than women who ate 0–1 serves daily.
Fruit consumption alone had no significant association with a lower incidence of stress, and there was no significant association between higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake (greater than seven daily serves) and a lower incidence of stress.
“This study shows that moderate daily fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower rates of psychological stress,” said Dr Melody Ding of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.
“It also reveals that moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress. Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people’s psychological stress.”
“We found that fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables,” said first author and University of Sydney PhD student Binh Nguyen.
The research was based on data from the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study.
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