The study, which was published in the journal American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), was a collaborative effort by researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Warwick in England.
The results of the study suggest that eating at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day is linked to "immediate improvements to psychological well-being."
According to the researchers, incorporating more vegetables and fruits in your diet can help lower your risk of depression and increase happiness levels.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a survey completed by more than 12,000 participants. The volunteers were selected at random and assessed in terms of their psychological well-being. They were also told to keep a food journal.
The volunteers who consumed little to no fruits or vegetables on a regular basis were instructed to follow a plan that included at least eight servings of fresh produce daily. The researchers observed significant increases in the well-being of the patients who followed the new diet.
The improvement in the mental health of these patients happened almost immediately in some cases and continued for more than two years.
The researchers noted that the healthy diet for managing depression offered more benefits when the participants consumed more servings of fruits and vegetables on average. The overall happiness and well-being of the patients increased when they were given an additional portion of vegetables or fruits per day, and the effect was observed when they were given about eight servings of fresh food.
Data from the study showed that while consuming more fruits and vegetables can improve a person's heart health or prevent cancer and heart disease in the long-term, it can boost their happiness levels more quickly. (Related: Have you heard of the MIND diet? Learn how to boost your mental health with this new healthy eating plan.)
The study results were adjusted if the participants’ personal circumstances or incomes changed to influence study results. However, the findings suggest that managing depression with a healthy diet is a more effective and safer choice compared to the use of prescription drugs, which are often associated with negative side effects.
These findings are relevant, especially since some studies have determined that the typical Western diet doesn't include enough fruits and vegetables. Additionally, a Western diet is often full of carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugar. A diet full of foods associated with increasing the risk of depression can only spell trouble for your mental health.
This is the first study of its kind to show that eating fresh fruits and vegetables regularly can effectively fight depression. The researchers added that there is a connection antioxidant-rich foods and optimism, which could be the result of higher levels of carotenoids in the blood.
Visit Mind.news to read more articles with tips on how to boost your mental health through positive lifestyle changes.