Chill out with more fruit and vegetables

Stressed out? Then eat more fruit and vegetables – they’re a great natural de-stressor, a new study has found.

People who eat the equivalent of at least four cups of fruit and vegetables every day consistently record 10% lower stress scores than people eating half that amount.

The foods are rich in vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids and they could be reducing inflammation and oxidative stress which, in turn, improves mental wellbeing.

Researchers at the Edith Cowan University in Australia tracked the diets and stress levels of more than 8,600 people between the ages of 25 and 91, and those who ate at least 470g ( 16.6 oz) of fruit and vegetables, the equivalent of four cups every day, had lower stress levels than those eating 230g (8 oz) or less.

Although stress can be a healthy response to an immediate challenge, long-term stress is debilitating, and can ultimately lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease, depression and anxiety.

It’s well known that a healthy diet is important, and yet only half of Australians eat two servings of fruit a day. Just 10% eat the recommended five servings.

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Clin Nutr, 2021; 40: 2860

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