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Fruits and Veggies for Good Mental Health

Fruits and Veggies for Good Mental Health

Dale Carnegie made “when fate hands us a lemon, let’s try to make a lemonade,” Rule #6 in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. But there are actually lots of other tasty ways to change your outlook from sour to sweet that don’t call for added sugar.

The newly published SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) study tracked 19,000 people for around 10 years and found that eating a diet with healthy amount of fruits and vegetables (including legumes and nuts) reduces the risk of depression by up to 25 to 30 percent.

There are many reasons why unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables help you achieve -- and keep -- a positive attitude. First, they protect your overall health: Eating foods rich in polyphenols reduces inflammation and helps prevent some cancers, as well as cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide fuel for the brain. Plus, when you’re eating fruits and vegetables, chances are you’re NOT eating foods that contain the Five Food Felons: trans and saturated fats, added sugar and sugar syrups and processed grains.

Unfortunately Americans only eat one serving of fruit and two servings of veggies daily. (And often the fruits and veggies are from sugar-added fruit drinks and French fries!) But good mental health is a pretty great reason to change your ways and eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Then, as Eric Idle sings at the end of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, you’ll be able to “…look on the bright side of life.”

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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