Fruity snacks can positively impact cognitive functioning.
It’s no secret that eating fruit is beneficial to your physical health, but it may be a surprise to learn that it is also good for your mental health. In fact, fruits have an amazingly beneficial effect on your overall well-being. New research suggests that when people consume a lot of nutrient poor foods, such as cookies and chips, and these individuals are at an increased risk to experience low productivity and forgetfulness throughout the day.This gives new meaning to the dreaded midday slump that many fall into.
In a recent study published by the British Journal of Nutrition researchers found that reaching for fruit more frequently than processed food was associated with reduced symptoms of depression. On the other hand, frequently consuming unhealthy snacks, those that are processed or pre-packaged, can lead to increased symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety. The study consisted of 428 adults that were surveyed about their regular snacking choices, the amount of fruit and vegetables they normally ate, and their overall mental health. Researchers also factored in each participant’s age, sex, physical health, exercise habits, BMI, smoking status, and alcohol intake.
Nicola-Jayne Tuck, a doctoral researcher at Aston University, and a co-author of the study said, “The total amount we consume isn’t as important as how often we consume the fruit. That was really surprising because you expect that the quantity and the frequency would be equal. But they’re not.” Surprisingly, the study did not find a direct connection between snacking on vegetables and overall better mental health. There will surely be more research on this in the future.
The study shows that eating fruit snacks over a 2-week period has been shown to drastically improve a person’s positive psychological well-being.You may be wondering if there is a particular type of food you should be focused on. A similar study found that specifically snacking on bananas, berries, and dried fruits significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.In addition, since fruit is naturally rich in fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients, it has a direct impact on your cognitive thinking, but these important nutrients can be lost once they are cooked. Eating fruit raw is the best bet to have a stronger impact on one’s psychological state.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University found that participants who regularly consumed a lot of processed foods reported having significantly more mentally unhealthy days.When people are stressed many will cope by snacking on nutrient-poor foods such as popcorn, crackers, chips, and cookies. According to a 2019 study, a history of eating savory snacks, which are normally higher in saturated fats, has been found to increase the risk for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.
Next time you find yourself reaching for a snack, think twice about that bowl of chips. For your overall well-being and mental health, reach for an apple instead. “Overall, it’s definitely worth trying to get into the habit of reaching for the fruit bowl,“ Tuck said.