Fruits for mental health Is a healthy diet that are important for mental health. In today’s article we are talking about the importance of fruits and why they can be great for your mental health. We will look at different kinds of fruits, the different nutrients they contain and how much of those nutrients a person needs to stay healthy.
Foods and Supplements That May Help Fight Depression
A careful selection of fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements, according to studies, can help you feel better mentally.
Every dietary supplement has advantages and disadvantages. Will my body actually absorb all the nutrients the supplement contains? is a question you might ask. Will the advantages be just as potent as if I were to buy full foods? Are supplements cost-effective? The fact is that some supplements may be able to maintain your health in ways that your diet cannot, either because your diet is deficient in a necessary nutrient or because the supplement contains advantageous ingredients that are absent from food.
Unfortunately, reliable research demonstrating the advantages of particular foods and supplements for maintaining physical health lags behind that demonstrating their effects on mental health conditions like depression. The good news is that science is catching up, as shown by the results of the studies.
Raw Foods to Improve Mood
Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis could be your first step if you’re seeking for a direct path to greater long-term health. According to studies, eating more fruits and vegetables also has positive effects on your mental health. Researchers have discovered strong evidence over the past few decades showing that people who consume fruits and vegetables have lower signs of stress, despair, and general negativity. According to research, those who consume the most fruits and vegetables tend to be happier, feel more satisfied, and find more meaning and fulfillment in their lives than those who consume little to no amounts of these foods.
Now, some additional research has been done by scientists at the University of Otago in New Zealand. ¹ In order to learn more about the normal eating habits of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, they conducted a poll of more than 400 of them. They discovered that people who ate the most portions of raw fruits and vegetables had considerably lower signs of mental illness and overall emotions of optimism, fulfillment, and life satisfaction than people who ate more canned, cooked, and other processed produce.
The top 10 raw fruits and vegetables that the researchers discovered to be linked to improved mental health and less signs of depression were whittled down. These include kiwifruit, apples, bananas, grapefruit, other citrus fruits, lettuce, cucumber, dark leafy greens like spinach, and carrots.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet, which has also been shown to offer advantages for mental health, emphasizes the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to one study, people who apparently maintained a traditional Mediterranean diet reported considerably less depression than those who did not follow the diet. The study examined the eating habits of adults 65 and older living in the Mediterranean region.
The fact that they were all healthier, more educated, and had fewer diabetes cases suggests that a number of factors, rather than just one straightforward one like nutrition, may affect depression levels. Daily tea consumption was found to be connected to significantly lower levels of depression in one study.
Numerous studies have shown that following a Mediterranean-style diet can help you acquire the recommended amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes (dry beans, lentils, and peas), seafood, and other nutrients that are linked to a lower risk of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and herring, are among these nutrients that have received the most research. Your body also makes omega-3s from compounds found in flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, and leafy green vegetables.
What About Supplements?
Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are sold in supplement form. Years ago, when research revealed that sad people’s blood cells lacked omega-3 fatty acids, scientists started investigating the link between omega-3 and mental wellness. Omega-3 levels are lower in patients with current depression, particularly severe depression, than they are in remission or in people who have never been diagnosed with depression, according to more recent studies.
Omega-3 supplements can also help reduce anxiety levels, but only when used in conjunction with depression, according to one study. People who just experienced anxiety were unable to benefit from supplements. Despite conflicting findings from continuing research, it is still possible that omega-3 supplementation can lessen the signs and symptoms of depression.
It’s interesting to note that a small study from 2018 indicated that persons with depression considerably reduced symptoms when they followed a Mediterranean diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, especially when the diet included a variety of vegetables and legumes.
Does St. John’s Wort Really Work?
St. John’s wort, also known as hypericum, has long been investigated and is still being investigated as a supplementary, complementary, or alternative treatment for depressed symptoms. Unfortunately, even while some studies have shown encouraging findings, the majority of them have been too small in scope and too short in duration to be taken seriously.
Medical practitioners have been unable to offer broad recommendations for consumption due to worries about the absence of standardized preparations, long-term safety, and possible drug interactions. However, a 2017 meta-analysis of 27 trials found that St. John’s Wort is just as effective as the often prescribed SSRI antidepressants, such as Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac, for treating mild to moderate depression, indicating that further investigation is unquestionably necessary.
Additionally, vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine), saffron, and turmeric are supplements that have shown some potential outcomes. The majority of these supplements also show enough potential to warrant additional study, despite the fact that there is not currently enough data to support widespread recommendations from the medical community.
Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and Vegetables
Background: Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, rich in micronutrients, have been associated with better mental health. However, cooking or processing may reduce the availability of these important micronutrients. This study investigated the differential associations between intake of raw fruits and vegetables, compared to processed (cooked or canned) fruits and vegetables, and mental health in young adults.
Methods: In a cross-sectional survey design, 422 young adults ages 18–25 (66.1% female) living in New Zealand and the United States completed an online survey that assessed typical consumption of raw vs. cooked/canned/processed fruits and vegetables, negative and positive mental health (depressive symptoms, anxiety, negative mood, positive mood, life satisfaction, and flourishing), and covariates (including socio-economic status, body mass index, sleep, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use).
Results: Controlling for covariates, raw fruit and vegetable intake (FVI) predicted reduced depressive symptoms and higher positive mood, life satisfaction, and flourishing; processed FVI only predicted higher positive mood. The top 10 raw foods related to better mental health were carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit.
Conclusions: Raw FVI, but not processed FVI, significantly predicted higher mental health outcomes when controlling for the covariates. Applications include recommending the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables to maximize mental health benefits.
The saying “You are what you eat” is well-known, and research connecting a balanced diet to good physical and mental health is growing (Rooney et al., 2013; Robberecht et al., 2017). High fruit and vegetable intake (FVI) is a significant factor in the link between diet and health (Lampe, 1999; Trichopoulou et al., 2003).
A range of micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables are essential for both physical and mental health (Kaplan et al., 2007). According to research (Byers and Perry, 1992; Irshad and Chaudhuri, 2002; Raison and Miller, 2011), antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids are crucial in defending the body against oxidative stress, which is thought to be the cause and driver of neurodegenerative diseases, chronic inflammatory diseases, atherosclerosis, some cancers, and some types of depression.
Additionally, for optimum cognitive and emotional functioning, the water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and B vitamins) and several minerals (calcium, magnesium, and zinc) are crucial (Huskisson et al., 2007; Kaplan et al., 2007).
Materials and Methods
A cross-sectional correlational design was used. Our study concentrated on young adults ages 18 to 25 because research has shown that fruit and vegetable consumption changes by age (Billson et al., 1999; University of Otago and Ministry of Health, 2011). According to Thompson et al. (1999; University of Otago and Ministry of Health, 2011), young adults often consume the least fruit and vegetables of any age group and are particularly susceptible to mental health concerns (Johnston et al., 2014).
Participants and Procedure
The sample’s participant characteristics are shown in Table 1. 422 young individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 took part in the study. Participants were found either through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTURK, N = 317), an online marketplace for crowdsourcing services that enables researchers to find sizable groups of people to complete online surveys in exchange for payment, or as part of their undergraduate psychology course at a major New Zealand university (N = 105). Participants had to be between the ages of 18 and 25, and MTurk participants had to reside in either the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom because these countries’ diets are most similar to those of the local New Zealand sample, making comparisons simpler.
Australian and British individuals, however, were underrepresented in the study. As a result, only Americans were included in the final MTurk sample. An electronic information sheet regarding the questionnaire, which was distributed to every participant, was generally advertised as a study about lifestyle characteristics without any mention of the goals of examining food or mental health.
The University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Category B) (#D17/158) accepted this study, and each participant electronically signed their informed permission. Psychology students were compensated with course credits for completing a quick worksheet based on their involvement after completing the 25-minute online questionnaire, while MTURK participants were given a small monetary payout of US$1.50.
To guarantee accurate and relevant responses were being acquired, MTURK participants were forced to perform a variety of attention checks incorporated in the questionnaire (N = 76 did not pass attention checks and were not permitted to continue with the survey). Data were gathered between March and June of 2017.
Age, gender (male, female, or gender diverse), ethnicity (Caucasian, Asian, Black, Hispanic, Mixed, or other), student/employment status, and childhood and present socioeconomic position were all included in the first section of the questionnaire (SES).
Childhood SES was measured with three items (“My family usually had enough money for things when I was growing up;” “I grew up in a relatively wealthy neighborhood;” “I felt relatively wealthy compared to the other kids in my high school”);
current SES was measured with three items (“I have enough money to buy things I want;” (Based on Griskevicius et al., 2011) “I don’t need to worry too much about paying my bills;” “I don’t think I’ll have to worry about money too much in the future.” Using a Likert scale that went from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7, participants indicated how much they agreed or disagreed with each topic (Strongly Agree).
Lifestyle Factors and Other Health Behaviors
Numerous covariate measures related to health and way of life were included in the second segment. Two questions from the Basic Nordic Sleep Questionnaire (Partinen and Gislason, 1995), posing the question, “In a typical week, how many hours per night do you usually sleep?” allowed participants to score the quantity and quality of their sleep. and a question with five response possibilities, from “Never refreshed” to “Very refreshed,” asking how refreshed you feel when you wake up from sleep.
How many days in a normal week does an individual do at least 30 minutes of exercise that is “enough to raise your respiratory rate?” was the only question used to gauge physical activity (Milton et al., 2011). Cycling was among the physical activity examples and exclusions that were given (e.g., housework).
Participants provided their height and weight, which were used to calculate their BMI (responses were given in both imperial and metric units) (Nuttall, 2015). From a list of ten conditions, including diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2), hypertension, history of cancer, osteoporosis, disordered eating behavior, cardiovascular disease, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or “other,” participants indicated (yes/no) if they had any known health conditions. They also indicated (yes/no) whether they had any food allergies from a list of ten conditions, including diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) (i.e., dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nut, wheat, soy, shellfish or fish, or other).
In order to determine weekly alcohol intake, participants were asked how many days in a normal week they typically drank alcohol, as well as how many standard drinks they typically consumed on those days.
Additionally, participants were asked if they routinely take any vitamin or mineral supplements and if they currently take any prescription antidepressants or mood stabilizers. Participants were asked how frequently they smoked, with five answers available: “I don’t smoke presently,” Less than once a month, once a month at least, once a week at least, and once a day at least.
There were other dietary assessment questions in the second phase of the survey, but the four categories that are important to this analysis are: raw vegetables; cooked/frozen; canned; or tinned vegetables (processed vegetables); raw fruits; and cooked/canned/tinned fruits (processed fruits).
The dietary questions are listed in Table 2. Participants calculated their predicted frequency of consumption for each food group (0–7 days/week). They reported the number of servings they ordinarily consumed on days when they ate that food (1–7+ servings/day, serving defined for each food category), as well as the kinds of foods they ordinarily consumed from a list of frequently consumed foods in that category, if they acknowledged eating that food at least once per week (e.g., carrots, lettuce, etc.).
These three questions included quantitative data on the consumption of different food groups as well as more in-depth descriptive data on the kinds of foods people frequently ate within each food category. This nutritional assessment technique has been applied in earlier studies with a similar focus (Lesani et al., 2016; Mujcic and Oswald, 2016).
Additionally, a number of other food categories not covered in the present analysis were measured as covariates, along with an index of four unhealthy food groups (chocolate, candy/lollies, French fries/hot chips, and soda; see Table 2). (legumes, juices).
TABLE 2. Food survey questions (and response items).
Following the dietary assessment, participants were given six options for how they typically buy and prepare their food (I mainly purchase and prepare my food myself, “I mainly buy and cook food as a flat, apartment, or in a group,” “My parents mainly prepare my food,” “I mainly prepare and purchase my food with my partner,” “I mainly eat at my University Residence Hall/Dormitory,” or “other”), along with additional questions about their eating habits.
Summer Fruits & Vegetables That May Help With Brain Health & Mental Health
The dog days of summer are already fully underway! This implies that the body is under a lot greater strain to keep us cool and everything functioning properly while we go about our daily lives. What summer foods may we eat to maintain a healthy mental state and a happy brain, both traditional and not so traditional?
The best foods for maintaining good mental health and brain function are fruits and vegetables. Because they are nutrient-dense, fruits and vegetables give your body and brain the critical nutrients it needs to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
The following are the best fruits and vegetables to eat for your brain and mental health:
- Berries: Berries including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and red raspberries are highlighted as some of the healthiest fruit choices. Berries are full of antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative stress. They are nutrient dense and fiber rich, which helps stabilize blood sugar and helps in the reduction of inflammation all essential to improve the health of your brain.
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens, including spinach, kale, watercress, arugula and chard are all rich in fiber, phytonutrients, vitamin C, A and K as well as folate. All of these nutrients are essential for healthy neurotransmitter production (dopamine and serotonin). Leafy greens are anti-inflammatory and help slow cognitive decline.
- More Veggies: Eat a rainbow of vegetables including bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes. All of these veggies are rich in fiber, phytonutrients, vitamin C and vitamin A. Because of their fiber content, they are great for improving the health of your gut, which is essential to the health of your brain.
- Melons: Melons, including cantaloupes, honeydew melon and watermelon, are great for hydration as they are primarily made up of water. Additionally, they are rich in vitamin C which is a great antioxidant as well as for cortisol production to help you fight off stress.