Five-plus a day keeps the counsellor away

  • 16/03/2017
Women in particular benefit from eating vegetables (Getty)
Women in particular benefit from eating vegetables (Getty)

Stressed out? Try eating more veges - but not too much.

Australian researchers have found getting your five-plus a day is not only good for the body, but also the brain.

People who eat three or four servings daily had a 12 percent lower risk of being stressed than those who ate one or none, the British Medical Journal Open-published study reports.

Eat five to seven, and you're knocking 14 percent of the likelihood of stress away.

"This study shows that moderate daily fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with lower rates of psychological stress," says Dr Melody Ding of the University of Sydney.

The benefits are even greater for women - three or four servings reducing stress risk by 18 percent, and five to seven by 23 percent.

"We found that fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables," said University of Sydney PhD student, Binh Nguyen, who led the study.

But there's a catch - you can't wolf down tasty, sugar-filled fruit. Some of those servings have to be boring old broccoli and beans.

"Moderate fruit intake alone appears to confer no significant benefit on people's psychological stress," says Dr Ding.

And they found no benefit to eating more than seven servings of veges a day - at least when it came to fighting off stress.

The study used data from the long-running 45 and Up study, looking at more than 60,000 individuals.