Regular fruit consumption leads to better mental well-being and fewer symptoms of depression, study finds

Regular fruit consumption leads to better mental well-being and fewer symptoms of depression, study finds

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber and essential micronutrients that support optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking (Getty Images)

People who frequently eat fruit are more likely to report greater positive mental well-being and less likely to report symptoms of depression than those who don’t, according to a new study by the Aston University School of Health and Life Sciences (UK).

The results, published in the scientific journal British Journal of Nutrition, they suggest that how often we eat fruit is more important to our psychological health than the total amount we consume during a typical week. The team also discovered that people who eat salty snacks, like potato chips, which are low in nutrients, are more likely to have higher levels of anxiety.

The study surveyed 428 adults from across the UK and looked at the relationship between their consumption of fruit, vegetables and sweet and savory snacks and their psychological health. After taking into account demographic and lifestyle factors such as age, general health and physical activity, Research has found that nutrient-rich fruits and nutrient-poor salty snacks appear to be linked to psychological health. They also discovered that there was no direct relationship between vegetable consumption and psychological health.

People who frequently eat nutrient-poor salty foods (like potato chips) are more likely to suffer from 'everyday mental disorders' (known as subjective cognitive failures) and report lower mental well-being (Getty Images)
People who frequently eat nutrient-poor salty foods (like potato chips) are more likely to suffer from ‘everyday mental disorders’ (known as subjective cognitive failures) and report lower mental well-being (Getty Images)

According to the survey, the more often fruit was eaten, the lower the depression score and the higher the mental well-being score, regardless of the total amount of fruit consumed. During, people who frequently ate salty, nutrient-poor foods (like fries) were more likely to experience “daily mental lapses” (known as subjective cognitive failures) and report less mental well-being.

A higher number of disqualifications was associated with a higher number of symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression, and a lower mental well-being score. On the contrary, no relationship was observed between these daily memory lapses and consumption of fruits and vegetables or sugary snacks, suggesting a unique relationship between these nutrient-poor salty snacks, daily mental lapses and psychological health.

Some examples of these frustrating everyday mental lapses were forgetting where objects had been placed, forgetting the purpose of entering certain rooms, and being unable to retrieve names of acquaintances whose name was on the “tip of the tongue”.

“Our findings may suggest that frequent snacking on nutrient-poor, salty foods may increase daily mental lapses, which in turn reduces psychological health.” (Getty Images)

“Very little is known about how diet can affect mental health and well-being, and although we are not directly examining causation here, our results may suggest that Frequent snacking on nutrient-poor salty foods can increase daily mental lapses, which in turn reduces psychological health. explains the main author, the doctoral student Nicola-Jayne Tuck.

Other studies have found an association between fruits and vegetables and mental health, but few have analyzed fruits and vegetables separately, and even fewer evaluate both the frequency and quantity of intakes. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber and essential micronutrients that promote optimal brain function, but these nutrients they can be lost during cooking. As we are more likely to eat raw fruit, this could explain its greatest influence on our psychological health.

Like the complex relationship between the gut and the brain, food and mental health are inextricably linked, and the connection between them goes both ways: a lack of good food choices leads to an increase in mental health problems, and mental health problems in turn lead to poor eating habits.

When a person is at a low mood, cognitive control over food fails and eating something fatty is easiest and most automatic. It is very common to have unhealthy habits, for example the consumption of toxic substances such as tobacco and alcohol, as well as foods rich in ultra-processed foods and in sugars, refined flours and saturated fats. These foods, although very tasty, are very poor nutritionally. A healthy diet is essential for leading a healthy life and protecting mental health.

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