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2018 Blog

Improve your Mental Health Raw Fruit & Vegetables

Posted on 23 May, 2018 at 23:40

Raw fruit and vegetables provide better mental health outcomes: Otago, NZ research.

That is the simple message from University of Otago researchers who have discovered raw fruit and vegetables may be better for your mental health than cooked, canned and processed fruit and vegetables.


Lead author Psychology PhD student Kate Brookie, says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables (such as 5+ a day).


However, the study, conducted by Ms Brookie and co-authors Psychology Senior Lecturer Dr Tamlin Conner and postgraduate honours student Georgia Best, just published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the way in which produce was prepared and consumed.

groups and are at high risk for mental health disorders.


The group’s typical consumption of raw versus cooked and processed fruits and vegetables were assessed, alongside their negative and positive mental health, and lifestyle and demographic variables that could affect the association between fruit and vegetable intake and mental health (such as exercise, sleep, unhealthy diet, chronic health conditions, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender).


“Controlling for the covariates, raw fruit and vegetable consumption predicted lower levels of mental illness symptomology, such as depression, and improved levels of psychological well-being including positive mood, life satisfaction and flourishing. These mental health benefits were significantly reduced for cooked, canned, and processed fruits and vegetables.


“This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe, and adjuvant approach to improving mental health,” Dr Conner says.

“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,” Ms Brookie says.


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