fruit and vegetableIn our daily life, most of us are overwhelmed with numerous problems related to our professional or private life. Thus such health conditions as chronic depression, psychological disorders and chronic pessimistic look at this life are quite common for many modern people. It is actually a very worrying tendency since chronic stresses and depression are proven to be the factors linked to increased risks of very serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some others. That is why doctors and health care specialists recommend those who are suffering from the mentioned psychological disorders to find immediate and effective solutions, and do not put their health at serious risks. Some of the people master the best stress management techniques like yoga, aromatherapy, physical activities, new hobbies, or others, some use help and support of their friends, and some are looking for a little assistance in the diet. And surprisingly, they are right!

For example, it is know that dark chocolate is one of the best foods to treat depression and evoke positive feelings. This unique food known also for its high antioxidant consent can help increasing serotonin production in our body, which is very good for blood vessel relaxation and making us feel more energetic, thus more positive. Read more about amazing health benefits of dark chocolate. Nowadays, the related findings by a group of the scientists of the Harvard School of Public Health were published saying that adding more of fresh organic fruit and vegetables to our diet can be a great solution to fight depression and lower the related risks. fruit and vegetable dietThe research has shown that having a fruit and vegetable diet rich in beta carotene (a natural carotenoid which can be found in carrots, oranges, pumpkin and other fruits and vegetables of orange color, as well as in leafy vegetables) can be a unique solution for everyone of us to forget about negative thoughts or stressful feelings, relax and start feeling much better or more optimistic about the future and life.

For the reported study, about 1,000 volunteers, American men and women aged from 25 to 75, were invited. The main objective of the research was evaluating blood concentrations of the most common substances including antioxidants like vitamin E, carotenes, and others, and confirm or disconfirm the existing hypothesis that high concentrations of antioxidants in our blood are linked to depression and other psychological problems. In addition to the actual measurements, the volunteers were also asked to fill the questionnaires formulated in order to learn about the life attitudes and possible psychological condition of every each participant. By using these questionnaires, the researchers tended to measure ‘the level of optimism’. After comparing the data received form analyzing the questionnaires with the blood carotenoid levels, it turned out that  the participants with higher levels of carotenoids were more likely to have more optimistic look at their life and particularly their future, both one personal, social, or global levels.

By looking closer at the results of the analysis, the researchers came to the conclusion that those of the participants who reported consuming three portions of fruit and vegetables rich in carotenoids a day had up to 13 per cent more optimistic look at the life compared to those participants who reported consuming two portions of those. Unfortunately, the study failed to find out the mechanisms how exactly a fruit and vegetable diet improves out psychological health helps us be more optimistic and prevents depression, but it supported some previous related findings. In particular, the research of an expert team at Warwick University has resulted in the conclusion that consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help people feel happier and more content about their life. Julia Boehm, a specialist of the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote: ‘This is the first study of its kind to report a relationship between optimism and healthier levels of carotenoid concentrations.’ You can check out the findings of American scientists in one of the recent issues of the Psychosomatic Medicine magazine.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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