Fruit and Vegetables for Improved Mental Health

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It has long been known that fruits and vegetables are good for our physical health. Recent research has revealed that increasing fruit and vegetable intake can also increase our mental health. They found that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables can improve mental health and well-being. Further, increased consumption can improve short-term well-being. Additional research revealed that consuming two additional portions of fruits and vegetables per day for two weeks led to improved psychological outcomes. These include increased social-emotional well-being and more energy.

Researchers explain that a majority of people are consuming below the benchmark amount of five portions of fruits and vegetables per day. They found 85% of people consume less than three daily portions of fruit and 60% consume less than three daily portions of vegetables. What’s so important about adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet? It can be a low-cost way to improve both physical and mental health. As fruit and vegetable consumption increases, personal well-being increases.

It has been found that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables by one portion, on days when at least one portion was consumed, led to a 0.133 unit increase in mental well-being. That's the same increase as eight extra days of walking at least 10 minutes per month! This finding helps to illustrate the effect of eating more fruits and vegetables on mental health and life satisfaction. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing healthy lifestyle consultations specific to nutrition for increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Additionally, we can help by providing support for adhering to living a healthier life.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: Higher Fruit, Vegetable Consumption Tied to Well-Being. Michael Vlessides,Medscape, February 14, 2019.; Ocean, N., Howley, P., & Ensor, J. (2019).  Lettuce be happy: A longitudinal UIK study on the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and well-being.  Social Science & Medicine, 222, 335-345.; Conner, T., Brookie, K., Carr, A., Mainuil, L., & Vissers, M. (2017).  Let them eat fruit! The effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on psychological well-being in young adults: A randomized controlled trial.  PLoS One.

Mushrooms May Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Impairment

Researchers have long noted the positive benefits of a healthy diet. Recently, it has been found that older adults who ate more than two portions of mushrooms per week may have almost a 50% reduced risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. This finding was compared to those who ate mushrooms less than once per week. It is recommended that older adults consume mushrooms that include golden, oyster, shiitake, white button, dried, and button mushrooms.

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They explained that mushrooms may have certain protective effects on the brain. Certain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties within mushrooms may explained this effect. Researchers believe that mushrooms may help to delay the natural loss of neurons that occurs in the brain. Additionally, they found that those with mild cognitive impairment also had a higher proportion of hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. This demonstrates the importance of incorporating mushrooms into the diet for multiple health outcomes.

Overall, these findings are concurrent with previous research that illustrates the effects of eating a healthy diet on mental health. Fruits and vegetables have also been found to improve mental health, specifically improving well-being, energy, and vitality. Additional research has also noted a healthy diet can reduce cognitive decline and improve memory later in life. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to nutrition. We can assist with providing support for adhering to a healthy diet and improving both physical and mental health outcomes.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: Mushrooms May Cut Cognitive Impairment Risk. RaytaSwift Yasgur, MA, LSW – Medscape– March 20, 2019; Higher Fruit, Vegetable Consumption Tied to Well-Being. Michael Vlessides– Medscape– February14, 2019; Akbaraly, et al. (2018).  Association of long-term diet quality with hippocampus volume:  Longitudinal cohort study. Photos by Christine Siracusaand MILKOVÍ on Unsplash