Skipping These Foods Can Be Dangerous for Your Mental Health, Study Says
A new study found that raw fruits and vegetables are not only good for you nutritionally, but can also help your mental health. The study of 1,100 people, published in Frontiers in Psychology in December 2020, showed that a combination of adequate exercise and sleep, and a diet high in fruits and vegetables can benefit your mental well-being.
The study was carried out by the University of Otago on young adults from New Zealand and the United States. Shay-Ruby Wickham, who conducted the study as part of her Master of Science degree, said, according to Science Daily, "Sleep, physical activity, and a healthy diet can be viewed as three pillars of health that could help promote optimum well-being in young people Adults, a population where the prevalence of mental disorders is high and well-being is sub-optimal. "
In particular, the study found that those who ate 4.8 servings of raw fruits or vegetables per day reported better overall wellness, but they found that too much fruits and vegetables aren't necessarily a good thing either. Subjects who ate fewer than two servings or more than eight servings in one day reported less well-being. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors urge everyone to take it immediately.)
It's important to note that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet doesn't necessarily improve your mental health. Associate Professor Tamlin Conner of the Department of Psychology, who was the study's lead author, said her research specifically looked at which young adults "thrive and suffer" according to Science Daily.
The most important aspect of better mental health, according to researchers, is getting the right amount of sleep. This study found that those who slept eight hours a night reported the highest levels of wellbeing and those who slept 9.7 hours a night reported the lowest levels of depressive symptoms.
Sleep quality is recommended more than sleep amount, as too much sleep can have negative effects, according to the study. The researchers found that having a good night's sleep is far more beneficial for you than having too many hours of below-average sleep.
Exercise is the third piece of this puzzle, and while they didn't dig into it too thoroughly, the researchers indicated that maintaining positive mental well-being is an important aspect of your daily routine. However, both advocated that this study should only find a link between sleep, diet, exercise, and mental wellbeing, and further research could and should be done to prove the effectiveness of sleep, exercise, and eating fruits and vegetables for benefits for mental health.
"We have not manipulated sleep, activity, or diet to test their changes on mental health and wellbeing. Other research has done so and found positive benefits. Our research suggests that a 'whole health' intervention is sleep, exercise "The joint intake of fruits and vegetables could be the next logical step in this research," said Professor Conner in the study.
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