There are so many reasons to eat your greens, but you may be able to add this to the list: eating your greens may help fight “the blues.”†
That’s right. Frequently consuming your veggies (and your fruits)—including the green ones, all organic—may boost your mental outlook and mood.† The findings of a study indicate that it doesn’t take a huge increase in consumption, either. Researchers found that increasing your veggie and fruit intake to just three or more times per week can help, although most of us could use even more than that because we don’t typically get enough veggies and fruits in our diets.
It was a 2012 study that focused on eliminating more animal products from the diet—leaning towards a more plant-based diet—and increasing vegetable and fruit intake. The scientists believed that those on plant-based diets had better moods, mostly due to the intake of a class of phytonutrients in plants that can cross the blood-brain barrier to support a healthy mood. The review of this study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, suggests that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables “may present a noninvasive natural and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain.”
How cool is that?
There’s more, though. The frequent consumption of veggies appears to cut a person’s odds of getting depression by more than half—60 percent, to be exact—according to the researchers’ findings.†
There are a whole lot of technicalities as to why greens consumption may help fight the blues, but here’s a long story short: an enzyme called monoamine oxidase seems to be elevated in those who are depressed, and it's a “neurotransmitter-eating enzyme” that can lead to depression.
The standard way of addressing having too much of this enzyme, monamine oxidase, has been and frequently is through drugs—tricyclic antidepressants and even more risky ones, which are monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are often seen as drugs of last resort because of their serious side effects.
That’s why veggies and fruits may be so powerful for mental health and mood. They appear to inhibit this enzyme—monoamine oxidase—so that it doesn’t do the damage to the brain.† Some of the veggies and fruits that have those brain-supporting phytonutrients are kale, apples, berries, grapes and onions. Green tea contains them as well.
So, go ahead and up your veggie and fruit intake. You—and your brain—may glean the benefits!
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.