Can Raw Fruits and Vegetables Help Your Mental Health
Fruits and vegetables are some of the greatest gifts of nature. They come packed with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the body and health. Not only do they make us stronger and more active physically, but they also make us sharper mentally.
Nowadays, especially in the younger generations, there’s a trend of eating fast food and other snacks more than fruits and vegetables. Fast food and other junk might be tasty but have close to no benefits, whereas fruits and vegetables are extremely beneficial for us.
There can be numerous benefits given by fruits and vegetables, but we will mention just a few:
• Fruits and vegetables are good for your cardiovascular health.
• Potassium in vegetables and fruits help control blood pressure.
• Dietary fibers present in vegetables help reduce blood cholesterol levels and constipation.
• Many studies suggest that they also help reduce the risks related to cancers.
• Green leafy vegetables are known to help you keep your diabetes under control.
• Many fruits and vegetables also help in the whole process of breaking down the food and digesting it.
• Fruits and veggies also improve your vision and make your eyes sharp.
• Research has shown that they also have a positive impact on your mental health.
It is best if you start eating raw fruits and vegetables at a young age. The vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables include vitamins A, C, and E. They also contain minerals like magnesium, zinc, and folic acid. All these nutrients help develop a healthier body. They make you physically strong and active and help reduce obesity and control your weight.
Naturally, if you are physically strong and active, your mental health will automatically improve. In today’s world, the number of people suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue is drastically increasing every day. Immense workload, problems at home, busy schedules, and several other reasons can cause these mental health issues.
Several studies have been conducted to find out the effect of eating raw fruits and vegetables on mental health.
A study conducted in Australia in 2016 showed that an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption led to better psychological and mental stability. To ensure that the study’s results are accurate, a large sample of 40,000 people was taken and analyzed for five years.
The analysis of this particular study showed that an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables is directly connected to improved mental well-being and satisfaction in general. Other determinants of mental health like wealth and income, physical health, and other food items were also accounted for during this study.
The study further indicates that by just adding one portion to your daily diet, you can significantly impact your mental health. One portion can be classified as one cup of raw vegetables, half a cup of chopped fruits or cooked vegetables or whole fruit. This finding was quite impressive as it shows that by just adding an extra fruit to your everyday diet, you can improve your mental health.
However, the study in no way suggests that eating fruits and vegetables can be a substitute for medical treatment of your mental illness. It merely shows that adding fruits and vegetables to your diet can have an immensely positive impact on your mental health.
This research was carried out at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Its main purpose was to see how you prepare your fruits and vegetables and affects to your mental health.
Researchers at the university found out that people who eat more raw fruits and vegetables face fewer symptoms of depression, a better mood and greater satisfaction in life. Although people who ate cooked or canned fruits and vegetables did get an improvement in their mood, they never got any decrease in their experience of depression or an increase in life satisfaction.
To arrive at this conclusion, the study took a sample of 422 adults based in the United States and New Zealand. The study was very detailed as participants were asked for their raw and processed fruit and vegetable consumption levels along with their positive or negative mental health. Lifestyle and demographic information were also taken from the participants like their social and economic status, sleep schedule, weight, and smoking and alcohol drinking patterns.
The researchers used advanced statistical models to separate the different lifestyles and demographics and isolated the effect of consuming fruits and vegetables on the mental health of the participants.
They found out that raw fruits and vegetables led to better mental health, a more positive mood, and a general feeling of satisfaction in life. On the other hand, processed food only showed a betterment in the mood of the participants and not much else.
Thus, the results prove that eating processed fruits and vegetables, which consist of both cooked and canned varieties, won’t do any harm to you. At the same time, they will not improve your mental health in any way as compared to the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables, which will have a positive impact on your mental health.
The study also came up with some specific fruits and vegetables that showed the best results in improving your mental health. We will list down the top 10 for you so that you can buy them the next time you visit a grocery store.
• Spinach and other dark leafy greens
• Citrus fruits
Fruits and vegetables in every form are so enriched in different kinds of nutrients that they can hardly ever cause any harm to the human body. Although processed fruits and veggies might not be that healthy and may not directly improve your mental health, they still do help with a lot of things that lead to better health in general.
It is always best to have fruits and veggies raw, but that is not necessary. You can also have them processed or whatever way you like. The important thing is that you should incorporate them somewhere in your diet because they have a lot of importance for your physical as well as mental health and improvement.
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