Eat a Rainbow Every Day!

13 Nov

Course excerpt from Nutrition and Depression

The Power of Fruits and Vegetables:
Image result for sharing fruit and veg
We have all been told that eating more fruits and vegetables is an important part of preserving our health, but can increased consumption of produce also improve mood?
Looking to answer just this question, Department of Psychology researcher Dr. Tamlin Conner, Dr.Caroline Horwath, and Bonnie White from Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition, recruited a total of 281 young adults (with a mean age of 20 years) to complete a questionnaire giving details of their age, gender, ethnicity, weight and height. Excluding those with a history of an eating disorder, participants were then asked to complete an internet-based daily food diary for 21 consecutive days. Every evening, for 21 days, participants logged into their diary and rated how they felt choosing from a list of eighteen positive and negative adjectives.
Then they answered five questions about what they had eaten that day. Specifically, participants were asked to report the number of servings eaten of fruit (excluding fruit juice and dried fruit), vegetables (excluding juices), and several categories of unhealthy foods like biscuits/cookies, potato crisps, and cakes/muffins.
And after 21 days, the results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and vegetable consumption, but not other foods.This result stood even after controlling for body mass index (BMI), or running additional analysis to ensure that a positive mood didn’t precede a higher intake of fruits and vegetables. In fact, what Dr. Conner and her team found was that eating fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, suggesting that healthy foods may improve mood (Conner et al.,2013).
“On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did.” (Conner et al., 2013).
Conner cautions, however, that in order to notice a meaningful positive change, people would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of fruits and vegetables per day –essentially ensuring that half of your plate at each meal is comprised of fruits or vegetables (Conner et al., 2013).
A more recent study found similar results.
A collaboration between the University of Warwick, England and the University of Queensland, Australia, involved an examination of longitudinal food diaries of 12,385 randomly sampled Australian adults over 2007, 2009, and 2013 in the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey.
The authors adjusted the effects of incident changes in happiness and life satisfaction for people’s changing incomes and personal circumstances. As part of the study, subjects kept food diaries and had their psychological well-being measured at intervals throughout the course of the study.
Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables was found to improve well-being in the long term, and incrementally, as happiness benefits were detected for each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables up to 8 portions per day. Incredibly, the researchers concluded that people who changed from almost no fruit and veg to eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day would experience an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment (Oswald et al.,2016).
Professor Andrew Oswald explains, “Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health. People’s motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical-health benefits, such as protecting against cancer, accrue decades later. However, well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate” (Oswald et al., 2016).
“Perhaps our results will be more effective than traditional messages in convincing people to have a healthy diet. There is a psychological payoff now from fruit and vegetables –not just a lower health risk decades later” (Mujcic, 2016).
While it has been well established that there is a link between antioxidant consumption and improved health, is there a link between increased anti-oxidants and optimism? From the results of studies like this, it is reasonable to think so. Most interesting, as Mujcic points out, the psychological payoff from fruits and vegetables occurs both immediately, and in better health down the road.
So what is the takeaway when it comes to fruits and vegetable and mood? Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
  • Aim for at least eight servings of fruits and vegetable daily (excluding dried fruits and fruit and vegetable juices).
  • At each meal, fill your plate halfway with fruits and vegetables.
  • Use fruits and vegetable between meals as snacks.
  • Aim for a wide variety of fruit and vegetable sources.

Nutrition and Depression: Advanced Clinical Concepts is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines how what we eat influences how we feel – and what we can do to improve both.

Depression is an increasingly common, complex, inflammatory condition that co-occurs with a host of other conditions. This course will examine how we can combat depression through nutrition, starting with an exploration of the etiology of depression – taking a look at the role of neurotransmitters, the HPA axis and cortisol, gene expression (epigenetics), upregulation and downregulation, and the connections between depression and immunity and depression and obesity. We will then turn our attention to macronutrients and investigate how factors such as regulating blood sugar, achieving amino acid balance, consuming the right fats, and eating fruits and vegetables can enhance mood, improve our decision-making, enhance cognitive processes, and reduce inflammation. From there, we will look at just how we go about the process of building a better brain – one neurotransmitter at a time. Exercises you can use with clients are included.

Course #31-02 | 2018 | 42 pages | 20 posttest questions

CE Credit: 4 Hours
Target Audience: Psychologists | Counselors | Social Workers | Occupational Therapists (OTs) | Marriage & Family Therapists | School Psychologists | Teachers
Learning Level: Introductory
Course Type: Online

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).


Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Mental Health, Nutrition & Dietetics


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