More Fruits and Vegetables for your Psychological Health
By now, the whole world knows that eating fruits and vegetables are good for you. It has become a fact. The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are outstanding and lead to prevention of diseases such as heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. (American Heart Association, 2017) In addition to the physical well-being, there are now studies that suggest that apart from being fit, advantages of these glow foods extend to mental and psychological health—giving you more reason to eat them. Realistically speaking, vegetables are not the most appetizing food. Children would see them as plants that their parents, guardians, or teachers force them to eat. Health buffs have admittedly adjusted their food to satisfy their sweet and/or oily cravings. By itself, vegetables are bland to the taste. If you find yourself giving up on vegetables because of this reason, we (and health specialists) strongly suggest Asian and Mediterranean diets. “Because they are rich in whole grains, colorful vegetables, lean proteins and heart-friendly, antioxidant-rich fats — such as olive and vegetable oils, nuts and fatty fish — both Asian and Mediterranean are good choices for a healthful diet.” (Martinez, 2015)
Vegetables are regularly used in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine and lifestyle. Red beans and legumes are frequently included in desserts; fish and vegetable oils (olive, grapeseed, sunflower) are used in stir frying; while steaming and baking are used as methods of cooking with less grease and calories. Not to mention, serving sizes are usually small to medium. Mentally and psychologically, one needs quality for you to function at your prime. This is the link between your brain and the foods that you eat. Studies show that adopting these styles of food ingestion have a 25 to 35 percent lower chance of getting depressed. Unprocessed and fermented food, because of the lack of toxic ingredients, act as natural probiotics (supplements that contain good bacteria). The actual fruits and vegetables have ingredients that can convert its sugar to energy. (Shelhub, 2015)
Science also acknowledges nutrition as a key factor in preventing long-term mental health issues. “The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid pace. As well as its impact on short and long-term mental health, the evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management, and prevention of specific health mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, ADHD and Alzheimer’s Disease.” (Mental Health Foundation UK) A 1999 study conducted by Johanna Lampe for the American Society of Clinical Nutrition scientifically supports that fruit and vegetables help modify antioxidant pathways by altering cholesterol and steroid hormone concentrations and metabolism helping the body flush out toxins. A supplement study found “researchers found that participants who personally received extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 2 weeks, at 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being. In particular, these participants demonstrated improvements in vitality, motivation, and flourishing.” (Whiteman, 2017).
Given these evidence, it’s more than recommended that fruit and vegetables be a staple in your diet. If the taste is your only issue, get creative. Brownies have dates. Sweet buns have red beans, frozen delights have shredded coconut, and you can even put carrots and cauliflower in pasta or even cookies. The possibilities are endless. Here’s to eating healthy!