Here’s one more way to ensure stronger mental health: get your fruits and veggies from the produce section at the grocery store, and not the canned foods aisle. Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that raw fruit and vegetables have more a positive effect on mental health overall than canned, cooked, and processed produce.
Public Health campaigns in New Zealand and many developed countries push healthy quantities of fruits and vegetables, making no distinction between cooked and raw. But researchers found that the difference between how produce is prepared and consumed makes an even bigger difference for mental health outcomes.
“Our research has highlighted that the consumption of fruit and vegetables in their ‘unmodified’ state is more strongly associated with better mental health compared to cooked/canned/processed fruit and vegetables,” says lead author Kate Brookie, a psychology Ph.D. student at the university, in a statement.