About The Buzz: Eating Fruit Can Prevent Depression?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Fruit has numerous health benefits, but a recent study suggests that simply eating 2 pieces of fruit each day can be protective against depression.1
WHAT WE KNOW
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 7% of adults, or approximately 16 million individuals, experience at least one major depressive episode a year in the United States.2 Globally, the rates of depression disorders have increased by 37.5% since 1990, and it is estimated that by 2030, depression will rank in the top three disorders responsible for the global disease burden.1
Many factors contribute to psychological wellbeing and play a major role in increasing or decreasing a person’s chances of developing depression. For example, any one of the following makes a difference: educational attainment, marriage status, gender, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, weight, levels of physical activity and a history of hypertension or heart disease.2
Now we can add fruit consumption to this list!
HOW WE KNOW THIS
The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health is exploring the relationship between biological, psychological, social and lifestyle behaviors on women’s health and wellbeing.1 Over the course of several years, thousands of women in the study were asked specific questions on fruit consumption (“How many pieces of fruit do you usually eat per day?”) and depressive symptoms.
Since it is difficult to tell whether depression causes a poor diet, only women who did not have a history of depression were included in this analysis. Scientists found that women who ate two or more pieces of fruit each day had reduced odds for depressive symptoms. By simply eating fruit every day, women were less likely to develop depression.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Mental health is the cornerstone of a person’s overall health, happiness, and wellbeing. Acknowledging something is wrong is the first step to getting help. From that point, you can develop a host of ways to help yourself cope and begin to feel better, and as we’ve discussed, eating two or more pieces of fruit on a daily basis is one way of both preventing and overcoming depression. While seemingly simple, everyday decisions you make, such as spending time with friends, going for a walk, eating fruits and vegetables, reading a good book, and keeping a regular sleeping schedule profoundly benefit our mental health.
Eat fruit every day! Here are a few ways to enjoy fruit with every meal.
- Top your breakfast foods with fruit: add bananas to oatmeal, apples into pancake mix, strawberries to yogurt, or stir in blueberries with your cereal.
- Make a filling fruit smoothie.
- Add fresh fruit to your salad: avocados, apples, grapes, and pomegranate seeds give salads an additional layer of texture and flavor.
- Add dried fruits to salad: experiment with raisins, dates, prunes, mangos, apricots, and figs.
- Try a new fruit salad recipe to accompany your lunch.
- Experiment with new main dishes that incorporate fruits – try apple corn chili, apple chicken stir fry or mixed greens with mangoes and white beans. Check out our recipe database for inspiration.
- Combine your favorite 100% fruit juice with berries to make popsicles.
- Dip strawberries or bananas in Greek yogurt and freeze.
- Sliced apples and peanut butter.
- Pineapple with toasted coconut flakes.
- A serving of your favorite dried fruit.
- Mix blueberries into low-fat granola for a juicy twist on a crunchy classic.
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How Many Cups Do You Need?
Key Nutrients in Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit & Veggie Database