A study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine shows that eating just one extra portion of produce per day can have a significant effect on mental well-being. In fact, it can be the equivalent of spending eight extra days of walking at least ten minutes every month.
Most are familiar with the positive impact of fruits and vegetables on physical health, but the researchers at Leeds and York universities in the United Kingdom analyzed data from 40.000 British citizens to see how fruits and veggies could change mental well-being as well.
The researchers followed individuals between 2010 and 2017, assessing the participants’ daily intake of fruits and vegetables and their well-being. Alternative factors that could affect mental health were considered, including education, income, age, martial status, lifestyle, overall health, and employment status. Still, the participants who ate more of the healthy foods reported a higher level of mental well-being and life satisfaction.
According to the study authors, the majority of individuals in the United Kingdom fall short of the recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. The study’s results show that those who aren’t eating fruits and vegetables daily would benefit from taking steps toward a healthier diet when it comes to mental well-being.
Further research is needed to clearly demonstrate cause and effect, but fruits and vegetables are clearly beneficial in both the long and short term.
You’ve likely heard about how an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But have you heard about the benefits of an avocado a day? According to a new study performed at Tufts University, eating one whole, fresh avocado each day can contribute to better eye and brain function in older adults who are otherwise healthy.
The researchers followed 40 health adults aged 50 years and older as they ate one avocado each day for a period of six months. The participants in the control group ate either one cup of chickpeas or a medium potato each day. The control group foods have approximately the same number of calories as an avocado, but with less nutritional benefits, like monounsaturated fats and lutein.
Lutein, a pigment found in some fruits and vegetables, builds up in the bloodstream, eyes, and brain. It can work as an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant. In the group that ate a whole avocado each day, researchers found a 25% increase in lutein. The same participants had better results on cognition tests that measured processing speed, attention levels, and memory.
The lutein levels more than doubled in the eye when compared to the control group. Elizabeth Johnson, the study’s lead investigator, indicated that a balanced diet that includes avocados could be a strategy for improving cognitive health.
A typical daily serving is only one third of an avocado, so more research is needed to see if the same results can be achieved by consuming less than one whole avocado. However, the research does reinforce research that shows that the avocado has health benefits.
The Hass Avocado Board commissioned the research, and the results were published in the journal Nutrients.