Are Fruit and Vegetables Protective of Mood Disorders?

Fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a number of positive health effects. One aspect of the health promoting effects of fruit and vegetables may be a beneficial effect on mental health. For example, one study showed that 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day was associated with a greater risk of depression compared to higher intakes. However, no such association was found for anxiety when fruit and vegetables were combined. However, when analysed independently, fruit intake was inversely associated with the risk of depression and anxiety, and vegetables was inversely associated with depression, but not anxiety. These results support other evidence that fruit and vegetable intake have a beneficial effect on mental health. One caveat that must be emphasised is that an association does not prove cause and effect. That being said, mounting evidence suggests that the phytochemical antioxidants within fruit and vegetables have a significant beneficial effect on mood disorders including anxiety and depression. 

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Liu, M. W., Chen, Q. T., Towne Jr, S. D., Zhang, J., Yu, H. J., Tang, R., Gasevic, D., Wang, P. and He, Q. 2020. Fruit and vegetable intake in relation to depressive and anxiety symptoms among adolescents in 25 low-and middle-income countries. Journal of Affective Disorders. 261: 172-180

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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