It’s easy to reach for the chips or ice cream when we are stressed. But, could eating more fruits and vegetables lead to less stress? Eating at least one pound (470 grams) of fruits and vegetables daily may lower stress levels, according to a new study.
The Australian study examined the link between fruit and vegetable intake and stress levels of more than 8,600 study participants between the ages of 25 and 91. “We found that people who have higher fruit and veggie intakes are less stressed than those with lower intakes, which suggests diet plays a key role in mental wellbeing,” said PhD candidate Radavelli-Bagatini, from the Institute for Nutrition Research, from Edith Cowan University (ECU).
As we have reported earlier, stress is very toxic to the body. While stress is a normal part of everyday life, repeated stress can lead to disease and long-term mental health problems. “Stress is a the core cause of illness. Stress shortens your lifespan at the cellular level and increases the speed of aging,” says Amy Rothenberg, ND in this video class on how environmental toxins cause disease.
“Long-term and unmanaged stress can lead to a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety so we need to find ways to prevent and possibly alleviate mental health problems in the future,” said Radavelli-Bagatini.
How can eating better lead to lower stress?
While the exact mechanisms behind how fruit and vegetable consumption can lower stress are still being uncovered, Radavelli-Bagatini said key nutrients are one factor. “Vegetables and fruits contain important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and carotenoids that can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and therefore improve mental wellbeing,” she said.
The science of food and mood shows that the ideal combination of healthy fats, proteins, fibrous complex carbohydrates and the right probiotic strains supports the brain, the gut microbiome and reduces inflammation. “Inflammation and oxidative stress in the body are recognized factors that can lead to increased stress, anxiety and lower mood,” said Radavelli-Bagatini.
The study highlights the importance of eating well for overall health and better mental health. Check out more on the importance of reducing stress, lowering toxin levels and eating an inflammatory diet: