Eating more fruit and vegetables may reduce stress in women

Fruit and vegetables diet
Image by Richard Cocks - via Flickr

A newly published study found that just eating an increased amount of vegetables and fruit may help reduce a woman’s risk of stress. Since stress is frequently an unavoidable part of our everyday life, its consequences are often underestimated. Whether it comes from work, financial issues, family matters or broken relationships, that constant sensation of pressure we’re so often put under may increase the risk for many serious conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety or depression. Eating more fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, is good for our health, can help reduce the risk of obesity and other chronic conditions, and is included among the dietary recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).  On top of that, it has already been suggested as a possible solution to environmental issues since it may help reducing the emission of greenhouse gas emission.

The research led by Binh Nguyen, and published in the British Medical Journal, collected evidence from a large sample of Australian subjects. Data from a total of over 60,000 men and women aged 45 years or older has been analyzed to investigate the association between the risk of psychological distress and the consumption of vegetables and fruit. Between 2006 and 2008, the cohort of middle-aged adults answered to a questionnaire that assessed their baseline stress through the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. After 2 years, in 2010, the subjects answered a follow-up questionnaire to measure if their stress level changed after their diet improved.

According to the study’s findings, the risk of stress was reduced by 12 percent in adults who consumed three or four vegetables and fruit servings per day compared to those who did not consume any serving. Eating more servings further improved this ratio up to 14 percent in subjects who consumed up to seven servings per day. However, eating more fruit or vegetables than that had no additional effects. However, this effect was even more pronounced in women, starting from a 16 percent reduced risk in those who eat two servings of fruit daily, up to 23 percent in those who ate five to seven servings. Although these results may be used to further support current international guidelines that recommend an increased consumption of vegetables and fruit, the underlying reason why this dietary habit may also benefit psychological health is yet unknown.


Article by Dr. Claudio Butticè, Pharm.D.



Nguyen B, Ding D, Mihrshahi S. Fruit and vegetable consumption and psychological distress: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses based on a large Australian sample