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Daily Consumption of Vegetables Helps Relieve Stress in Women

Daily Veggies May Help Relieve Stress in Women

A new longitudinal study suggests eating fruit and vegetables appears to convey a level of protection against psychological stress for women more so than men.

University of Sydney researchers followed more than 60,000 Australians aged 45 years and older. Investigators measured participants fruit and vegetable consumption, lifestyle factors, and psychological distress for the period 2006-08 and then in 2010.

Psychological distress was measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, a 10-item questionnaire measuring general anxiety and depression. Usual fruit and vegetable consumption was assessed using short validated questions.

“This study shows that moderate daily fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower rates of psychological stress,” said Dr. Melody Ding of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health.

“It also reveals that moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress. Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people’s psychological stress.”

These new findings are consistent with numerous cross sectional and longitudinal studies showing that fruit and vegetables, together and separately, are linked with a lower risk of depression and higher levels of well-being assessed by several measures of mental health.

“We found that fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables,” said first author and University of Sydney Ph.D. student, Binh Nguyen.

The investigators say further studies should investigate the possibility of a threshold between medium and higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake and psychological stress.

Key findings:

  • people who ate three to four daily serves of vegetables had a 12 percent lower risk of stress than those who ate zero to one serves daily;
  • people who ate five to seven daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 14 percent lower risk of stress than those who ate zero to four serves daily;
  • women who ate three to four daily serves of vegetables had an 18 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate zero to one serves daily;
  • women who ate two daily serves of fruit had a 16 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate zero to one serves daily;
  • women who ate five to seven daily serves of fruit and vegetables had a 23 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate zero to one serves daily.

At the start of the study, characteristics associated with higher stress included: being female, younger, having lower education and income, being overweight/obese, a current smoker, and being physically inactive.

Interestingly, fruit consumption alone had no significant association with a lower incidence of stress. Moreover, there was no significant association between higher levels of fruit and vegetable intake (greater than seven daily serves) and a lower incidence of stress.

Source: University of Sydney/EurekAlert

Daily Veggies May Help Relieve Stress in Women

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Daily Veggies May Help Relieve Stress in Women. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 13, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/03/16/daily-consumption-of-vegetables-helps-relieve-stress-in-women/117733.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 16 Mar 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Mar 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.