We know that following a healthy diet is important for our physical health, but a new study finds it can be good for our mental health, too. Researchers from Aston University in England have discovered that eating more fruit is associated with better overall mental wellbeing as well as fewer depressive symptoms.
The team of researchers surveyed more than 400 adults about their diets, specifically their snacking habits, as well as their psychological health. After adjusting for factors like age, general health and exercise habits, they found that those who eat fruit more often had lower scores for depression and higher scores for mental wellbeing. And on the flip side, those who eat more “nutrient-poor savory foods,” like chips, were more likely to experience “everyday mental lapses” and have lower mental well being.
Researchers point out that both fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, but the way we typically eat them could make a big difference when it comes to getting the mental health benefits. We tend to cook veggies and these nutrients can be lost during cooking, but since we usually eat fruit raw, that could explain its stronger effect on our mental health. While the study can’t prove that eating fruit more often improved their mental health directly, lead study author Dr. Nicola-Jayne Tuck concludes, “Overall, it’s definitely worth trying to get into the habit of reaching for the fruit bowl.