A study from Aston University found that people who ate fruit frequently had better mental well-being.
According to new research from Aston University’s College of Health and Life Sciences, people who frequently eat fruit are more likely to report greater positive psychological well-being and less likely to report symptoms of depression compared to those who don’t.
These findings suggest that how often we eat fruit is more important to our mental health than the total amount we consume in a typical week.
In addition, the researchers found that people who ate savory snacks like potato chips, which are low in nutrients, were more likely to report higher levels of anxiety.
The study surveyed 428 adults from across the UK. The researchers examined the relationship between the consumption of fruits, vegetables, sweet and savory snacks and their psychological health. The study was published British Journal of Nutrition.
After controlling for demographic and lifestyle factors, including age, general health, and exercise, the researchers found that both nutrient-dense fruit and savory snacks were associated with psychological health. They also discovered that there was no direct link between eating vegetables and psychological health.
According to the survey, the more fruit people ate, the higher their mental well-being and the lower their depression scores. This does not depend on the total amount of fruit consumed.
People who frequently snacked on nutrient-poor, savory foods (such as potato chips) were more likely to experience “everyday mental disturbances” (known as subjective cognitive impairment) and reported poorer mental well-being. A higher number of interruptions was associated with higher reported symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression and lower mental well-being scores.
In contrast, there was no association between these daily memory impairments and fruits and vegetables or sugary snacks, suggesting a unique relationship between these nutrient-poor savory snacks, daily mental impairments, and psychological health.
Examples of such frustrating everyday mental failures included forgetting where things were placed, forgetting the purpose of entering certain rooms, and failing to retrieve the names of acquaintances whose name was on the tip of the tongue.
Lead author and PhD student Nicola-Jayne Tuck commented: “Very little is known about how diet can affect mental health and well-being, and although we did not directly address causality here, our findings may suggest that frequent snacking on nutrient-poor savory foods. food can increase daily mental distress, which in turn reduces psychological health.
“Other studies have found a link between fruits and vegetables and mental health, but few have looked at fruits and vegetables separately, and even fewer have assessed both frequency and amount of consumption.
“Both fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber and essential micronutrients that promote optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking.” Since we are more likely to eat fruits raw, this may explain their stronger influence on our psychological health.
“It could be that changing what we snack on can be a really simple and easy way to improve our mental well-being.” On the contrary, it is possible that already this October, the restriction of processed snacks at checkouts can improve not only the physical health of the country, but also the mental health.
“Overall, it’s definitely worth trying to get into the habit of reaching for the fruit bowl.
Reference: “Frequency of Fruit Consumption and Savory Snacks Predicts Psychological Health; selective mediation of cognitive failures, by Nicola-Jayne Tuck, Claire V. Farrow, and Jason Michael Thomas, 2022. May 26 British Journal of Nutrition.