Scientists from Warsaw University of Life Sciences found eating fruits and vegetables may help improve mental health in women.
Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.
It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental health may be influenced by some dietary patterns. Research had found beneficial effects of high fruit and vegetable intake.
For example, a healthy diet (high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy products; and only occasional red meat) is linked to a reduced risk of depression.
In addition, omega-3 fats can improve mental health. These are found in oily fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, perch, herring, and sardines, and in smaller amounts in white fish such as cod, bass, haddock, and snapper.
The influence of fruit and vegetable intake on a broad spectrum of mental health was still unclear.
In the current study, researchers analyzed the association between the dietary pattern of fruit and vegetables and the broad aspects of mental health in adult women.
They reviewed 30 published studies that had found habitual intake linked to dietary patterns with the intake of specific fruit and/or vegetables, and/or fruit or vegetable products (eg, juices), as well as any aspect of the broad spectrum of general mental health.
The researchers found generally, eating more fruits and vegetables was linked to better mental health.
Some studies showed that eating a vegetarian/vegan diet was linked to worse mental health outcomes.
They suggest that fruits and vegetables may help improve mental health in women.
Although scientists do not know exactly why diet affects mental health, it could be due to changes in blood glucose (sugar) levels, inflammation, or effects on the microorganisms that live in the gut (known as the microbiome).
Eating well also prevents some chronic diseases like diabetes, which also affect mental health.
The research was published in Nutrition Review and conducted by Dominika Guzek et al.
If you care about mental health, please read studies about vegetarianism linked to a higher risk of depression, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce the risk of dementia, and ultra-processed foods may make you feel depressed.
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