People who frequently eat fruit are more likely to report greater positive mental wellbeing and are less likely to report symptoms of depression than those who do not, according to new research from the College of Health and Life Sciences, Aston University. The researchers’ findings suggest that how often we eat fruit is more important to our psychological health than the total amount we consume during a typical week. The team also found that people who eat savory snacks such as crisps, which are low in nutrients, are more likely to report greater levels of anxiety.
Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study surveyed 428 adults from across the UK and looked at the relationship between their consumption of fruit, vegetables, sweet and savory food snacks, and their psychological health.
After taking demographic and lifestyle factors such as age, general health and exercise into account, the research found that both nutrient-rich fruit and nutrient-poor savory snacks appeared to be linked to psychological health. They also found that there was no direct association between eating vegetables and psychological health.
Based on the survey, the more often people ate fruit, the lower they scored for depression and the higher for mental wellbeing, independent of the overall quantity of fruit intake.
Lead author, PhD student Nicola-Jayne Tuck commented: “Very little is known about how diet may affect mental health and wellbeing, and while we did not directly examine causality here, our findings could suggest that frequently snacking on nutrient-poor savory foods may increase everyday mental lapses, which in turn reduces psychological health.