EATING vegetables reduces stress – especially among women. That’s the positive finding of some new research I’ve been reading about in the British Medical Journal Open. This is great news because it’s not widely known that stress is one of the reasons many people can find it hard to lose weight, as I explain in my free ebook on the subject (scroll down for a link).
The new study, carried out by researchers in Australia, suggests that eating more fruit and vegetables every day can help ease depression, stress and anxiety.
This was a big piece of investigative work: the researchers looked at the diets of 60,000 Australians aged 45 and over. They found that that just three to four servings of vegetables or fruit a day, compared to those who just ate one serving, may help lower psychological stress by 12 per cent.
People in the study who ate five to seven portions a day reduced stress by 14 per cent, according to the study’s authors. They measured stress levels using a 10-part questionnaire which focused on feelings of anxiety and depression and interestingly the research uncovered a difference between men and women when they considered if eating vegetables reduces stress.
The University of Sydney co-author Binh Nguyen said: “We found that fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men.” Women who ate five to seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduced stress levels by 23 per cent compared to women who consumed zero to one portions a day. Women who ate just two portions had a 16 per cent lower risk of stress.
The authors cautiously add that there needs to be more investigations in to the link between fruit and vegetable consumption before any definite conclusions can be made that eating vegetables reduces stress.
“Fruit and vegetable consumption may help reduce the prevalence of psychological distress among middle-aged and older adults. However, the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and the incidence of psychological distress requires further investigation and possibly, a longer follow-up time.”
Eating vegetables reduces stress – get my free ebook
The UK mental health charity Mind commented: “Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins and fibre we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. Eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients – several portions of the same type of food won’t be so good for you.”
They singled out tomatoes, mushrooms and bananas – which all contain high levels of potassium, a mineral which is essential for the whole nervous system, including the brain.” Mind also suggested eating raw fruit and vegetables, where possible, to get the highest number of nutrients.
Since we know that almost all weight problems are directly linked to our brains then it makes sense to pump in as much goodness as possible every day. Making healthier choices is the key to successful long-term weight loss.
More serious addictions and depression might need professional help and should not be ignored.
I’d love to know how many servings of fruit and veg you have every day. What are your favourites and why? Please leave a comment below because your advice will be invaluable for others.