According to a recent study, fruit and vegetables can cut stress levels. We’re constantly reminded of the need to eat 5-a-day, and more recently 10-a-day, but increasingly more and more research is backing up the need to do this and it shouldn’t be ignored.
This most recent study, carried out in Australia, with 60,000 subjects aged 45 or over, is yet more evidence of the importance of fruit and vegetables for physical benefits but also mental health benefits.
These finding follow in the wake of those issued recently by British scientists claiming that 5-a-day was vital for lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer.
In addition to the physical benefits, this latest study shows that a moderate daily fruit and vegetable intake is associated with lower rates of psychological stress.
Middle-aged women appear to have seen the biggest benefit in the study, when eating 5-7 portions a day, with their stress levels reportedly reduced by 23%.The benefits seen were a reduction in anxiety and an improvement in mental well-being.
Ingesting a moderate vegetable intake alone was linked to lower stress levels, however fruit alone did not provide any significant benefit. The combination of fruit and vegetables saw the biggest effect, particularly when apples, bananas, oranges, potatoes, lettuce, cucumber and carrots were eaten together, especially by women.
We all know that increases in stress drive us to comfort eating, constant snacking and eating the wrong foods, not to mention weight gain. Eating fruit and vegetables however has the opposite effect on our stress levels, leaving us more relaxed, healthy and of course a few pounds lighter.
In the UK, less than a third of adults eats more than five portions (14oz) of fruit and vegetables a day.