Eat This More Often If You Want to Boost Your Mood

Happy woman looking into a refrigerator
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Feeling down in the dumps? Perhaps another orange or apple will fix that.

People who eat fruit regularly are more likely to report feeling positive and less likely to report symptoms of depression, according to recent research out of the College of Health and Life Sciences of Aston University in the United Kingdom.

The survey of 428 adults, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that eating fruit more often was associated with better mental well-being. In fact, it was the frequency with which people ate fruit — rather than the total amount they consumed — that conferred the biggest benefit.

On the other hand, those who indulge in low-nutrient savory snacks like potato chips are more likely to report feeling anxious and to experience what Aston University describes as “general mental lapses,” also known as subjective cognitive failures or memory errors. Examples include:

  • Forgetting where you placed an item
  • Forgetting why you entered a specific room
  • Struggling to recall the names of acquaintances

Eating vegetables appeared to have no impact on mental health. In a press release, lead author and doctorate student Nicola-Jayne Tuck says:

“Both fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fibre and essential micronutrients which promote optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking. As we are more likely to eat fruit raw, this could potentially explain its stronger influence on our psychological health.”

Tuck cautioned that not much is understood about how diet may impact mental health and well-being, and that the study did not examine cause and effect directly.

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