Raw Fruits and Vegetables May Boost Mental Health Better Than Cooked and Processed Vegetables: Study
Here’s another reason to load up on raw fruits and vegetables. In addition to being power house of nutrients, raw fruits and vegetables which may help ease symptoms of depression, claims a new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. According to the researchers, eating raw fruit and vegetables such as kiwis, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens, cucumber, and carrots may lower symptoms of depression and improve mental health, more than cooked, canned and processed food.
Raw fruits and vegetables also showed improved levels of psychological well-being including a positive mood and life satisfaction amongst participants.
“Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their ‘unmodified’ state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” said lead author Tamlin Conner, senior lecturer at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.
The researchers noted that when you cook fruits and vegetables, or have them canned and processed, the foods run the risk of losing their mental health benefits as the process potentially diminishes the nutrient levels.
“Cooking and processing likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning,” Conner said.
More than 400 young adults from New Zealand and the US aged 18 to 25 years were surveyed, for the study.
For the longest time, studies have focused on on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables (such as 5+ a day), the latest study looks into the way in which produce was prepared and consumed and how it may have its impact on mental health.
“This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe and adjuvant approach to improving mental health,” Conner said.
Depression is a serious mental disorder and may require prolonged treatment just like any physical ailment. But there are some natural ways to curb depression. Your diet can play a crucial role in maintaining mental health. Try to include these foods in your daily diet to curb symptoms of depression.
1. Complex carbohydrates: Include foods that are rich in complex carbs in your diet like whole grains and brown rice. A lot of studies have shown that low carb diets have been linked to nervousness, anxiety, decreased concentration and insomnia.
2. Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is often linked with mood swings and depression. Add natural sources of Vitamin D like mushrooms, eggs and soy milk to your diet.
3. Antioxidants: Antioxidants can help in reducing the oxidative stress on your mental health. Berries and foods like cherries, grapes and dark leafy greens are some of your best bet.
4. Good quality proteins: Most of the protein rich foods contain an amino acid called tryptophan which helps your body make the mood boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Peas, beans, soya, lentils and paneer are good options and so are chicken and fish.
These healthy foods can really help in lifting your mood and making you feel better.