Eating Vegetables Each Day Can Help Reduce Stress, According to Study

Practically everyone knows that vegetables are healthy for them. From boosting immunity to treating chronic illnesses, vegetables offer a wide range of health benefits that scientists aren’t even yet entirely finished discovering.

In a new study from the University of Sydney in Australia, researchers found evidence of vegetables having a positive impact on stress levels. Not surprisingly, one measly serving of vegetables a day won’t exactly cut it.

Over 60,000 Australian adults ages 45 and older were given questionnaires at two different points in time between 2006 and 2010. They were asked questions based on their fruit and vegetable intake, lifestyle factors, and stress levels.

To measures stress levels, researchers used the the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. They found that higher stress levels were associated with some factors more than others, such as being female, being younger in age, having lower education, having a lower income level, being a smoker, being sedentary, and being overweight or obese.

Participants who consumed 3 to 4 servings of vegetables a day lowered their risk of stress by 12 percent compared to those who consumed one serving or none at all. Among those participants whose combined fruit and vegetable intake was 5 to 7 servings a day, their risk of stress was even lower at 14 percent compared to those who ate 0 to 4 servings a day.

Female participants who ate more fruits and vegetables seemed to benefit the most. Women who ate 5 to 7 servings a day lowered their risk of stress by 23 percent compared to those who ate zero or just one serving a day.

While a higher fruit and vegetable intake may provide the best advantage, aiming for 3 to 4 servings a day is still a great goal. Women who consumed 3 to 4 servings a day had an 18-percent lower risk of stress compared to zero or one serving a day. Even two servings a day provides benefits, lowering women’s risk of stress by 16 percent compared to zero or one a day.

According to the researchers, it’s probably better to favor vegetables over fruits since fruit intake alone didn’t seem to be linked to lower stress levels. And you can cap it off at seven servings a day if you like since anything higher than that didn’t provide any greater stress level benefits.

This isn’t the first time that fruits and vegetables have been linked to factors of psychological wellbeing. Previous research has shown that eating a higher than average number of daily fruit and vegetable servings (approximately eight servings a day) could have a mood-boosting effect that leads to greater feelings of happiness.

Interested in cutting the junk and replacing it with vegetables? Here are some ideas on how to make it easier on yourself if you’re trying to increase your vegetable intake:

  • Have pre-cut veggies ready to go. Pick one day of the week (perhaps your grocery day) when you can cut up some bell peppers, cucumber, celery, carrots, and other vegetables to store in the refrigerator for easy snacks and side dishes.
  • Make green smoothies. Throw a bunch of leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, and other greens into your blender along with some fruit and other healthy ingredients for a smoothie that’s basically a salad in disguise.
  • Take advantage of what’s in season. Do some research on which vegetables are currently in season to keep it budget-friendly and add some variety to your diet.
  • Stock up on frozen vegetables. Fresh is always better, but frozen vegetables last longer, are often cheaper, and still contain all their nutrients.

As long as you’re eating vegetables at every meal and snacking on them in between, it’ll be a cinch to get as many as 5 to 7 daily servings. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

I try to eat salads every night, thanks for posting!

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago


Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Katie S
Katie S1 years ago


Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 years ago


Carl R
Carl R2 years ago


Danuta W
Danuta W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing

ERIKA SOMLAI2 years ago

good to know,thank you

Telica R
Telica R2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Winn Adams
Winn A2 years ago