A study from Aston University found that frequent fruit eaters had greater positive mental well-being.
People who eat fruit frequently are more likely to report greater positive psychological well-being and are less likely to report symptoms of depression compared to those who don’t, according to a new study from the College of Health and Life Sciences from the University of Aston.
These results suggest that how often we eat fruit is more important to our mental health than the total amount we consume in a typical week.
Additionally, researchers found that people who eat salty snacks such as potato chips, which are low in nutrients, are more likely to report higher levels of anxiety.
For the study, 428 adults from across the UK were interviewed. The researchers examined the relationship between their consumption of fruits, vegetables, sweet and salty food snacks and their psychological health. The study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
After taking demographic and lifestyle factors into account, including age, general health and exercise, scientists found that nutrient-dense fruits and nutrient-poor salty snacks appeared to be linked to health. psychological. They also found that there was no direct link between vegetable consumption and psychological health.
According to the survey, the more often people ate fruit, the higher they scored for mental well-being and the lower they scored for depression. This was independent of the overall amount of fruit ingested.
People who frequently snacked on nutrient-poor salty foods (such as potato chips) were more likely to experience “everyday mental lapses” (called subjective cognitive failures) and report lower mental well-being. More dropouts were associated with higher anxiety, stress and depression symptoms and lower mental well-being scores.
In contrast, there was no link between these daily memory lapses and consumption of fruits and vegetables or sugary snacks, suggesting a unique relationship between these nutrient-poor salty snacks, daily mental lapses and psychological health. .
Examples of these frustrating little daily mental errors included forgetting where objects had been placed, forgetting the purpose of entering certain rooms, and inability to retrieve the names of acquaintances whose names were on the “end of the language “.
Nicola-Jayne Tuck, lead author and PhD student, commented: “Very little is known about how diet can affect mental health and well-being, and although we have not directly examined causality here, our results might suggest that frequently snacking on nutrient-poor savory foods may increase daily mental lapses, which in turn reduces psychological health.
“Other studies have found an association between fruits and vegetables and mental health, but few have examined fruits and vegetables separately – and even fewer assess both frequency and amount of consumption.
“Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fiber and essential micronutrients that support optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking. As we are more likely to eat raw fruits, this could potentially explain their greater influence on our psychological health.
“It’s possible that changing what we snack on is a very simple and easy way to improve our mental well-being. Conversely, it’s also possible that the next restriction of processed snack foods at checkouts, which is expected to come in October , can not only improve the physical health of the country, but also its mental health.
“Overall, definitely worth trying to get into the habit of reaching for the fruit bowl.”
Reference: “Frequency of fruit and salty snack consumption predicts psychological health; selective mediation via cognitive failures” by Nicola-Jayne Tuck, Claire V. Farrow and Jason Michael Thomas, May 26, 2022, British Journal of Nutrition.