According to WHO, about 400 million people suffer from depression. This disorder is one of the largest single causes of disability worldwide.
Depression can lead to serious consequences, and it is extremely important to find the risk factors and develop prevention strategy.
In a recent study, researchers suggest that eating fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of depression. The paper is published in Nutrition.
The study used a meta-analysis method, which used statistical methods to summarize previous research findings. The method is quite useful to draw a conclusion based on a number of individual studies.
For the influence of fruit intake on depression, researchers included 4 cohort studies and 6 cross-sectional studies in the analysis. A total of 227,852 participants were involved.
For the impact of vegetable intake on depression, researchers included 4 cohort studies and 4 cross-sectional studies. A total of 218,699 participants took part in the studies.
Findings from the meta-analysis showed that both fruit intake and vegetable intake were strongly related to the decreased risk of depression.
Researchers suggest that fruits and vegetables contain various minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12. These minerals and vitamins may help reduce the risk of depression.
For instance, magnesium intake can reduce low-grade inflammation, and depression is related to long-term inflammation. Lack of vitamin B12 and zinc can result in depression symptoms.
In addition, vitamin C and E, and folic acid play important roles in inhibit oxidative stress on mental health. As a good source of antioxidants, fruits and vegetables may be beneficial to protect against depression.
In the future, researchers will examine how BMI and physical activity can change the influence of fruit and vegetable intake on the risk of depression.