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Is It True Routine Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables Can Relieve the Depression Symptoms?

Fruits and vegetables are known for their health benefits that can fight a number of conditions and diseases, including Depression.

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Fruit illustration -  Fruits and vegetables are known for their health benefits that can fight a number of conditions and diseases, including depression that may soon be listed.

A new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, shows that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables helps young adults who are diagnosed with the disorder to reduce the symptoms.

The researchers said the main patients on the Mediterranean diet. A diet that focuses on plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

The research team examined the effects of dietary habits of 76 adults, ages 17 to 35 years old. The study, called the SMILES trial, focused on people diagnosed with depressive symptoms and consuming processed foods, saturated fats, and large amounts of refined sugar. 

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The researchers divided the participants into groups, with one group receiving instructions for improving their diet, kitchen items, and money for groceries shopping. While other groups do not get food, money or nutritional guidance.

At the end of the study, the diet group consuming the recommended food choices showed improved mood, whereas in participants who did not receive nutritional guidance, the level of depression remained the same.

In fact, according to the researchers, improvement in symptoms in the diet group continued for up to three months after the follow-up period.

"These findings add to the growing literature to suggest that a healthy diet can be recommended as an effective therapy for depressive symptoms, as an adjunct to pharmacological and psychological therapies," said Heather Francis, study co-author and clinical neuropsychologist and nutritional neuroscience researcher at Macquarie University, Sydney. 

She said that eating fruits and vegetables has the potential to help reduce harmful inflammation, a condition associated with poor dietary habits and a higher risk of depression.

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Researchers hope that the same health benefits can occur in young adults and older people.

However, some experts note, this study still has limitations. Only selected participants were depressed patients, according to Ana Ojeda, a licensed clinical psychologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Miami, who was not involved in the study.

"Do these dietary interventions reduce depression, in general, or only teenagers with a temperament that is easy to follow the plans?" she says. 

"We found that children (with more complex cases) were not likely to receive the same effect by modifying their eating patterns." (*) 

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Penulis: Lia Sisvita Dinatri
Editor: Lia Sisvita Dinatri
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