In a recent study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, people who consumed a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reported a more positive psychological state and were less likely to have symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety compared to those who do not eat these nutrient-rich foods as regularly.
While there are a lot of factors that contribute to mental health outcomes, the study suggests nutrition could play a role. Vitamin C, which is found in many fruits, provides key protection to our organs, including the brain, according to Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
"Snacking on whole fruits may maximize the absorption of nutrients ... thus having a more potent influence on psychological health," says lead author on the study Nicola-Jayne Tuck.
Researchers surveyed 428 adults about the amount of fruit, vegetables, and sweet and savory snacks they ate, and about their psychological health. Factors like age, exercise and health were taken into account. Scientists found that people who regularly consume nutrient-poor foods—processed and sweet foods like chips and cookies—were more likely to experience “everyday mental lapses” in the form of low productivity and forgetfulness which could affect work and home life. Additionally, they had an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and stress.