Feeling stressed? An Australian study has found that eating more fruits and vegetables could help.
Researchers at Edith Cowan University in Perth wanted to examine the link between stress and eating fruits and vegetables.
Looking at data from almost 8,700 Australians between the ages of 25 and 91, the researchers found that people who said they ate the most fruit and vegetables — at least 470 grams a day — reported 10% less stress than those who ate the least, or less than 230 grams a day.
However, looking at the different age groups, the researchers actually found that eating more fruit and vegetables was only linked to lower stress for people between 45 and 65 — not for those below 45 or those 65 and older.
Lead researcher Simone Radavelli-Bagatini said the results show that diet can be important for our mental health. Fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with chemicals that are known to reduce some of the physical effects of stress, which then helps to improve our mental health as well, she said.
She said that long-term stress, if it’s not managed, can lead to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and depression, so it’s important to find ways to reduce it.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating at least 300 grams of fruit and at least about 375 grams of vegetables each day. However, only half of adult Australians say they eat the recommended amount of fruit, and more than 90% say they do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables.