Eat Your Way to Lower Stress

Posted Sep 13, 2021

The adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor at bay,” may extend to wellbeing and not just chronic health conditions.

In a recent study on the impact of fruit and vegetable consumption on overall perceived stress levels, Radavelli-Bagatini et al. (2021) observed that increased fruit and vegetable consumption, measured subjectively with questionnaires and objectively through serum carotenoids, were associated with lower stress levels. Higher fruit and vegetable consumption were significantly associated with lower perceived stress in men (p = 0.009) and women (p = 0.012), separately. Perceived stress and serum carotenoid levels were inversely associated without any adjustment; but after adjusting for age and other confounding factors the relationship was not significant (Radavelli-Bagatini et al., 2021). 

This is novel as many individuals associate one health behavior with having self-efficacy to maintain several health behaviors (fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, wellbeing, etc.).  This study highlights the importance of public health messaging and information available to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption to abate chronic disease risk, but also manage perceived stress.   

The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 further highlights the importance of nutrition across the lifespan for stress reduction, chronic disease risk reduction, and overall fitness and wellness.

Nutrition is a vital part of the Master of Science in Allied Health (MSAH) program at Otterbein, and nutrition-based electives will be offered during summer 2022 for current students and those seeking continuing education. When you plan out your next snack break, be inspired that reaching for your favorite piece of fruit or perhaps a crisp pepper or cucumber is not only good for your waistline and disease risk but may also decrease your felt stress. If you are needing a little inspiration, here is a personal favorite — Cowboy Caviar (even without the chips)!

Erica Van Dop
Graduate Director
Master of Science in Allied Health

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