Written by Kaitlyn Schafer, MHC-TL
A study done in New Zealand (Brookie KL, 2018) found that eating raw fruits and vegetables reduced the rate of depression symptoms, higher positive mood, life satisfaction, and flourishing.
We have all tried to eat better or gone on a diet before. When we do this successfully we find ourselves feeling better about ourselves and more accomplished. Why is that? This study looks at eating raw fruits and vegetables does to your mental health specifically depression symptoms and wellbeing.
Raw fruits and vegetables has important micronutrients like vitamins and minerals that help with brain functioning. For example vitamin C and B, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. The study states that they looked at raw fruits and vegetables instead of cooked and/or steamed due to the loss of nutrients in the process.
The study consisted of 422 young adults ages 18-25 living in New Zealand and the United States. They reported that they chose this demographic due to the higher rates of reported depression levels and reduced fruit and vegetable intake.
Researchers found that the top ten raw foods related to decreased depression symptoms and overall wellbeing included carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit.
The study found that positive mood increased dependent on how many servings of raw fruits and vegetables. Positive mood increased with every serving to 6.5 servings. Then the positive mood plateaued. The 6.5 servings are both raw fruits and vegetables.
This study adds to the growing concern that what we eat is affecting not only our physical health but our mental health as well. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? This could be a great alternative for people who do not want to take medication for mental health disorders and are looking for more homeopathic alternative. We advise people to consult their doctor before making drastic lifestyle changes.
Brookie KL, Best GI and Conner TS (2018) Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and Vegetables. Front. Psychol. 9:487. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00487