Want better mental health? Go natural

By MiNDFOOD

Want better mental health? Go natural

Raw fruit and vegetables are proven to be better for your mental health – here’s the dish…

Raw fruit and vegetables may be better for your mental health than the cooked, canned and processed alternatives. This is the word from University of Otago researchers who say that public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables, such as 5+ a day.

This new research however, says that it’s as much about the nature of the fruit and vegetables you eat as it is about the quantity – especially when it comes to looking after your mind. “Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their ‘unmodified’ state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” says Dr Tamlin Conner, Psychology Senior Lecturer and lead author on the report.

The study, just published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the way in which the produce was prepared and consumed. Dr Conner believes that this could be because the cooking and processing of fruit and vegetables has the potential to diminish nutrient levels. “This likely limits the delivery of nutrients that are essential for optimal emotional functioning,” she says.

“This research is increasingly vital as lifestyle approaches such as dietary change may provide an accessible, safe and adjuvant approach to improving mental health,” Dr Conner says.

Top 10 raw foods for better mental health

If you feel like your mind could do with a bit of a boost, try eating more of these fruits and vegetables in their raw form:

  1. Carrots
  2. Bananas
  3. Apples
  4. Dark leafy greens such as spinach
  5. Grapefruit
  6. Lettuce
  7. Citrus fruits
  8. Fresh berries
  9. Cucumber
  10. Kiwifruit

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