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Organic Consumers Association

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Food and Mood

An estimated one in five adults—about 44 million Americans—experience some form of mental illness in a given year. That includes depression, which affects about 16 million American adults.

There are multiple factors, including some we have little control over, that can trigger mental illness. But a new study suggests that one of those mental illness triggers may be the food we eat—and that’s something we do have control over.

Scientists at the University of Otago in New Zealand surveyed 422 adults between the ages of 18 and 25, collecting data on raw versus cooked produce consumption. The study took into account other variables including the participant’s weight, exercise habits, overall diet and socioeconomic status. 

Researchers observed a link between the consumption of raw fruits and veggies and improved mental well-being—a correlation scientists say could be a result of higher nutrient levels in raw produce versus those in processed and cooked produce. 

Read ‘Food and Mood: Is Lack of Healthy Food Behind U.S. Mental Health Crisis?’

Read the study

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Put More Veggies—and Less Junk Food—in the Farm Bill!

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