Fruits and vegetables are natural antidepressants
The number of people with depression is growing in developed countries. Perhaps a factor in this disturbing increase is the decrease in the amount of fruit and vegetables in our diet. This is suggested by an epidemiological study that Peruvian health scientists published in PLoS One in 2017.
The researchers used data from 25848 adults collected in the Peruvian Health Questionnaire of the Demographic Health Survey. The study participants had described what their diet looked like and completed a questionnaire with which doctors determine whether someone is depressed.
Less than 5 percent of the study participants met the WHO guideline to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables daily, the researchers found to their shock.
"This finding is relevant because a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with several potential benefits in health, including better mental health, but also reduction in the risk of mortality for other non communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer," write the Peruvians.
At the same time, 3 percent of study participants were so depressed that they should receive medical treatment according to psychiatric guidelines. And yes, there was an association between the intake of fruit and vegetables and the display of severe depressive symptoms.
PLoS One. 2017 Oct 12;12(10):e0186379.
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