SYDNEY-- It's no surprise that eating vegetables is good for you, but new research out on Thursday from the University of Sydney suggests it will lower psychological stress as well.
The study surveyed 60,000 Australians aged 45 or older and examined the subjects' intake of fruit and vegetables, along with their lifestyle factors and levels of psychological stress at two separate time points between 2006-2008 and 2010.
Using the Kessler psychological distress scale, a 10-point scale measuring general anxiety and depression, researchers compared the results against the amount of vegetables and fruits they were consuming.
"Around 50 percent of adults meet the guidelines for fruit intake and only 7 percent for vegetables!" researcher Dr. Melody Ding told Xinhua.
An alarming statistic considering "women who ate 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables daily had a 23 percent lower risk of stress than women who ate 0-1 serving daily," the study said.
"Even moderate daily vegetable intake alone is linked to a lower incidence of psychological stress", with people who ate 3-4 daily servings of vegetables per day experiencing 12 percent lower stress levels than those who ate 0-1 serving daily.
Contrary to popular thought, fruit alone was reported to have no significant effect on lowering psychological stress.
The exact reason as to why the consumption of vegetables appears to decrease stress is still not entirely clear however.
"Unfortunately, we don't know. Our findings are based on big data at the population level, we need to work with other disciplines to get to understand the mechanisms," Ding said.
Interestingly, the consumption of vegetables and the effects on mood, although highly beneficial for both sexes, was less pronounced in men.
"The association is much stronger with women. Why? We can't say," she said.
"There could be a true biological difference between men and women or perhaps women are better at reporting their diets and their stress levels?" (PNA/Xinhua)
Source: Philippines News Agency