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Chill out with more fruit and vegetables

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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 percent lower stress levels than someone 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 have tracked the diets and stress levels of more than 8,600 people, aged between 25 and 91, and concluded that a diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables has a direct impact on our mental health.

Those eating at least 470 g, the equivalent of four cups of fruit and vegetables every day, were showing lower stress levels than those eating 230 g or less.  

Although stress can be a healthy response to an immediate challenge, longterm stress is debilitating, and ultimately can lead to more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, 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, and just 10 percent eat the recommended five servings.  

(Source: Clinical Nutrition, 2021; 40: 2860)

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Article Topics: nutrition
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