Friday, June 08, 2018 by Jessica Dolores
Natural is still the best. That’s the message from University of Otago researchers who found that raw fruits and vegetables may be better for mental health than their cooked, canned, and processed varieties.
Dr. Tamlin Conner, psychology senior lecturer and the study’s lead author, observed that through the years, public health campaigns have concentrated on the amount of fruit and vegetables one must consume (e.g. at least five times a day). But the recently-published research in Frontiers in Psychology discovered that especially for mental health, food preparation and the manner in which the food is consumed, are just as important.
Conner says eating fruits and vegetables in their unmodified, or raw state is strongly linked to improved mental health compared to cooking, canning and processing them. She explains that cooking and processing can decrease the fruits and vegetables’ nutrient levels, which are essential for maximum “emotional functioning.”
Conner and her research team surveyed 400 adults aged 18 to 25 from New Zealand and the United States. The researchers chose this age group because young adults in this age group usually have the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption. They are also most susceptible to mental health disorders.
Researchers analyzed the group’s usual consumption of raw versus cooked and processed fruits and vegetables. Their mental well-being, lifestyle and demographic traits that affect fruit and vegetable intake in connection with mental health (exercise, sleep, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender) were also assessed.
C0nner reports that her findings showed lower levels of mental illness among young adults who consumed raw fruit and vegetables. They had reduced levels of depression. They showed an upbeat mood. They were satisfied with what’s happening to them, and their life was flourishing. She added that these health benefits were “significantly reduced” for the group which consumed cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables.
The study’s lead author added that their research is valuable in looking for lifestyle approaches like dietary changes that can provide accessible and safe ways to boost mental health.
A healthy mindset that allows us to overcome life’s trials is just as important. Patricia Harteneck, Ph.D. shows how we can achieve this.
Mental health is a combination of what you eat and how you feel. You can start aiming for this now, so you can feel happier a lot sooner.
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