We recently talked about the effects of the quality of food on depression by presenting the results of a recent study (https://vitoli.ca/en/improved-diet-to-keep-a-healthy-mind/). Well, here is another study that highlights more generally, the importance of healthy eating on mental health and more specifically, unprocessed vegetables and fruits (Kate L. Brookie et al, 2018. Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and Vegetables. Frontiers in Psychology).

The study was carried out with 400 young adults aged 18 to 25. This is a subgroup of the population who normally eats few raw fruits and vegetables and has a higher risk of mental health problems. This group was fully documented with regard to their consumption of raw or processed fruits and vegetables, but also for all of their lifestyle habits and their positive or negative mental health characteristics. Among other things, the study considered their level of physical activity, consumption of foods not beneficial for health, their economic social status, ethnicity and gender.

Considering all of these variables, the level of consumption of unprocessed fruits and vegetables predicts a lower risk of mental health problems (such as depression), but also an improvement in positive characteristics such as the tendency for positive thoughts, personal satisfaction with life and their state of fulfillment. These benefits are significantly reduced when fruits and vegetables are cooked, caned or processed.

An Italian study had already demonstrated, in 2007, a clear association between the consumption of raw vegetables & olive oil, and the reduction in the risks of mortality (Masala et al, 2007: A dietary pattern rich in olive oil and raw vegetables is associated with lower mortality in Italian elderly subjects). This study involved 5,611 people over the age of 60 who were followed over a period of 6 years. It reveals a 50% reduction in the risk of mortality linked to the consumption of raw vegetables, olive oil, soups and poultry (the link with the consumption of poultry possibly highlights a lower consumption of other types of meat like red meat).

The consumption of raw fruits and vegetables is thus at the forefront of the positive impacts of food on our health. Eat a lot of preferably, raw foods, for your cognitive health, reducing the risk of disease and therefore, improve your quality of life.