More fruits and vegetables, less stress
The adage 'you are what you eat' applies to just about every imaginable area of your life. Even the amount of stress you experience partly depends on your diet. The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the less you will suffer from stress. This is apparent from an epidemiological study that was published in Clinical Nutrition.
Australian nutritionists at Edith Cowan University analyzed data from 8,689 adults from the Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (Aus-Diab) Study. A week ago we also wrote about another study that was based on data from the Aus-Diab study.
The study participants had completed questionnaires that let the researchers know how many fruits and vegetables they consumed daily, and how stressful their lives were.
The more fruits and vegetables the study participants consumed daily, the lower the level of stress they reported. The participants in the quartile with the highest intake reported 10 percent less stress than the participants in the quartile with the lowest intake.
When the researchers broke down their data by the age of the study participants, they saw that the stress-reducing effects of fruits and vegetables were only statistically significant in the 45-65 age group.
The researchers were able to verify that a high level of stress probably does not lead to a decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption. Apparently there is something in fruit and vegetables that reduces stress.
The researchers suspected that the stress-reducing effect of fruits and vegetables could well be the work of carotenoids. They determined the concentration of carotenoids in the blood of the subjects, but - after they had smoothed out the effect of other factors with statistical tricks - they saw no association.
Perhaps, we suggest, the stress-reducing factor in fruits and vegetables is good old vitamin C? It's just an idea...
"These findings strengthen the results of previous studies that existing guidelines on the minimum recommended intake of fruits and vegetables (400 g/day) may be associated with less stress", write the Australians. "However, randomised controlled trials are needed to establish causal evidence."
Clin Nutr. 2021 May;40(5):2860-7.
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