- Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber which are crucial for the cells and the body to function.
- Apart from the various health benefits of vegetables and fruits, stress-relieving is a new one on the list.
- A combination of fruits and vegetables upto 5-7 daily serves had a 23% reduction in stress in women.
Eating fruits and vegetables may reduce anxiety, depression and stress in Australians aged 45 years and above.
Fruit intake alone, had no significant effect in reducing stress while vegetable intake alone reduce stress levels. But a combination of fruits and vegetables upto 5-7 daily serves had a 23% reduction in stress.
‘Women who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 23 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate less than one serving daily.’
To assess usual fruit and vegetable consumption, a questionnaire with short validated questions was used and psychological distress was measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, a 10-item questionnaire measuring general anxiety and depression.
At the start of the study, characteristics associated with higher stress included: being female, younger, having lower education and income, being overweight/obese, a current smoker and being physically inactive.
Eat a Combo of Fruits and Vegetables Everyday
The study findings point out the need to eat atleast 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday to reduce stress.
More Fruits, More Benefits?
- People who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had a 12 percent lower risk of stress than those who ate 0-1 serves daily.
- People who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 14 percent lower risk of stress than those who ate 0-4 serves daily.
- Women who ate 3-4 daily serves of vegetables had an 18 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serves daily.
- Women who ate 2 daily serves of fruit had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serves daily.
- Women who ate 5-7 daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 23 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serves daily.
Fruit consumption alone had no significant association with a lower incidence of stress.There was no significant association between higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake (greater than 7 daily serves) and a lower incidence of stress.
"This study shows that moderate daily fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower rates of psychological stress," said Dr Melody Ding of the University of Sydney's School of Public Health.
Natural Stress reliever
"It also reveals that moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress. Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people's psychological stress."
These new findings are consistent with numerous cross sectional and longitudinal studies showing that fruit and vegetables, together and separately, are linked with a lower risk of depression and higher levels of well-being assessed by several measures of mental health.
"We found that fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables," said first author and University of Sydney PhD student, Binh Nguyen.
The investigators say further studies should investigate the possibility of a 'threshold' between medium and higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake and psychological stress.
- Dr Melody Ding, Some veggies each day keeps the stress blues away, BMJ Open (2017).