A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps reduce stress

As it has been known for a long time, a properly balanced diet has a huge impact on our everyday life and well-being, and long-term exposure to stressors can cause many health problems (as you can read about HERE). In addition to the methods of coping with stress known to you (HERE), it turns out that the right amount of fruit and vegetables consumed during the day can play a particularly large role in reducing it.

Research

In a recent study at Edith Cowan University in Australia, researchers investigated the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and perceived stress. The results of the research showed that people who consumed a minimum of 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily, the stress level was 10% lower compared to those who consumed less than 230 grams of these foods. Comparable results were obtained in people who ate an increased amount of fruit or vegetables alone.

“Our study strengthens the link between a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and mental well-being” Says Radavelli-Bagatini, lead author of the published study. “Long-term stress can lead to a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and depression, so we need to find ways to prevent and alleviate mental health problems in the future.” – adds the researcher.

Similar conclusions were reached by Polish scientists analyzing the relationship between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and broadly understood aspects of mental health (including the impact on the occurrence of depressive symptoms, stress or general well-being). It was noticed that lower levels of mental stress and, at the same time, higher levels of optimism were reported by people who consumed large amounts of fruit and vegetables, especially berries, citrus and leafy greens.

Consumption of fruit and vegetables in Poland

The statistical data on the consumption of vegetables and fruit and their preserves in Poland (compiled by the Food and Nutrition Institute) show that their consumption has not increased for over a dozen years, and is even in a slight downward trend. It is estimated that the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in our country (not counting potatoes and juices) slightly exceeds the level of 250 g per person per day.

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. Reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with poor health and an increased risk of non-communicable diseases. An estimated 3.9 million deaths worldwide in 2017 were caused by inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables. These products are rich in vitamins and other ingredients that regulate the functioning of the body and take part in all processes taking place in it, which is why the habit of reaching for a variety of fruits and vegetables is so important.

Summary

The topic of proper consumption of fruit and vegetables in reducing stress certainly requires more research, so we are still waiting for new reports in this area. However, we can already take care of the potential stress minimization by eating at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day in accordance with the current recommendations of the World Health Organization. The longer we eat properly, the lower the likelihood of serious health consequences in the form of diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, obesity and other diet-related diseases. That is why it is so important to take care of a balanced diet every day. 🙂

You can find many ideas for dishes using vegetables and fruits on the blog. I encourage you to consume especially seasonal products, which are tastier and richer in beneficial compounds (see HERE)  🙂

Bibliography:

  1. Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P, et al. Int J Epidemiol. 2017; 46 (3): 1029-1056.
  2. Fulton SL, McKinley MC, Neville CE, et al. The effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption on selected macronutrient and micronutrient intakes in four randomised-controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2017 May;117(9):1270-1278.
  3. Głąbska D, Guzek D, Groele B, et al. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mental Health in Adults: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 1;12(1):115.
  4. Radavelli-Bagatini S, Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, Prince RL, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake is inversely associated with perceived stress across the adult lifespan. Clin Nutr. 2021 May;40(5):2860-2867.

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A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps reduce stress