Fruit and Vegetable Intake Reduces the Risk of Depression

A number of studies have observed the protective effects of plant foods on mental health. In particular, consumption of fruits and vegetables may be highly beneficial. For example, in one study, researchers investigated the association between fruit and vegetable intake and depression by reviewing previous research. The results of the study showed that the risk of depression increased as fruit and vegetable intake decreased. When the data was analysed individually, the researcher noted that both fruit and vegetable intake was inversely associated with depression. Therefore, it might be that fruit and vegetables contain substances that reduce the development of depression. One explanation is that fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, and antioxidants are known to be beneficial at protecting from depression. This relates to the way antioxidants are able to interfere with the development of inflammation, and this limits the damage to the brain that is caused by pro-inflammatory pathways.

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Lifestyle habits that have been evidenced to increase the risk of depression include sedentary behavior, long-term stress, poor diet and short or long hours of sleep. Eating a healthy diet, containing high amounts of fruits and vegetables is therefore paramount to maintaining optimal mental health.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Liu, X., Yan, Y., Li, F. and Zhang, D. 2016. Fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of depression: A meta-analysis. Nutrition. 32(3): 296-302

About Robert Barrington

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