As we all know, following a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining health and well-being. A balanced diet helps give your body the nutrients it needs to function effectively. Without balanced nutrition, your body becomes more at risk for disease, infection, fatigue, and low performance.
But apart from eating vegetables and healthy snacks, a study from Aston University suggested that eating fruits more frequently can potentially help protect and maintain our mental health.
According to the researchers, despite the increasing interest in the association between diet and psychological health, there is a huge gap in studies examining the precise links between nutrient-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables versus nutrient-poor foods, including energy-dense savory and sweet snacks, and psychological health.
Hence, the researchers set out to examine 428 adults from across the UK and looked at the link between their consumption of fruit, vegetables, sweet and savory food snacks, and their psychological health. The researcher determined crucial insights that we will discuss in this article.
Several studies have begun exploring the link between diet and psychological health, but only a few were focused on examining the impacts of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables on mental well-being.
Similarly, the psychological processes behind the association between dietary intake and psychological health remain unclear, which the British Journal of Nutrition study aimed to address.
Using the data from 428 healthy adults who completed a set of validated questionnaires measuring their dietary habits, psychological health, demographic and lifestyle factors, the researchers were able to determine the following findings:
Some common examples of these little everyday mental lapses include forgetting placements of items you had, forgetting why you went into certain rooms, and having a hard time recalling the names of people whose name was on the ‘tip of the tongue.
Based on these findings, the researchers suggested that frequent snacking on nutrient-poor savory foods may increase everyday mental lapses, reducing psychological health.
The findings also highlighted how fruits significantly reduce everyday mental lapses and improve mental health. According to the researchers, fruits and vegetables are abundant with antioxidants, fiber, and essential micronutrients, promoting optimal brain function. However, these nutrients may be lost during cooking, and since fruits are usually eaten raw, this could potentially explain their stronger influence on mental health.
The study’s findings also demonstrate how simply changing our snacking habits can significantly improve our mental well-being. So building a habit of reaching for the fruit bowl is definitely worth it.
Tuck, N.-J., Farrow, C. V., & Thomas, J. M. (2022). Frequency of fruit consumption and savoury snacking predict psychological health; selective mediation via cognitive failures. British Journal of Nutrition, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0007114522001660