Bean-ough Stress

Image of young Black woman eating fruit salad.

Feeling stressed? Have a bubble bath, a glass of wine, and… an apple?  

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

What’s YOUR go-to snack for decompressing? Ice cream, donuts, pizza? While these foods comfort us, they won’t reduce our stress. So what SHOULD we eat?

Enter Simone Radavelli-Bagatini and her team at Edith Cowan University in Australia. They knew poor nutrition is linked to increased stress. But is the OPPOSITE true? Do fruits and vegetables HELP?  

For answers, the team analyzed diet logs from about nine-thousand Australians. Each subject also took a survey measuring their perceived stress levels.  

Results? Fruit and veggie lovers did indeed report feeling less stressed! The highest consumers ate nearly five-hundred grams, or about five servings, daily. They felt TEN PERCENT less stressed than those who ate half as many servings!. 

Radavelli-Bagatini thinks that the vitamins in fruit and veggies reduce inflammation and stress at a cellular level. And a less stressed-out body could mean a more relaxed mood! 

So – rough day? Eat your broccoli! Wine and bubble bath, optional. 

Reference: Radavelli-Bagatini, S., Blekkenhorst, L. C., Sim, M., Prince, R. L., Bondonno, N. P., Bondonno, C. P., Woodman, R., Anokye, R., Dimmock, J., Jackson, B., Costello, L., Devine, A., Stanley, M. J., Dickson, J. M., Magliano, D. J., Shaw, J. E., Daly, R. M., Hodgson, J. M., & Lewis, J. R. (2021). Fruit and vegetable intake is inversely associated with perceived stress across the adult lifespan. Clinical Nutrition, 40(5), 2860–2867.