Researchers found that eating two kiwi fruits led to an improvement in mood within four days, with the peak improvement occurring in 14-16 days.
It is known that foods rich in vitamin C can improve mood. However, the time course of these benefits is unknown. In new research, scientists from the University of Auckland and the University of Otago in New Zealand used extensive mobile phone surveys from a three-way placebo-controlled trial to identify mood-related changes after consuming kiwi, vitamin C, or a placebo.
The study was conducted by researchers led by Professor Tamlyn Conner from the University of Otago, and was published in British Journal of Nutrition.
A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been linked to better mental health. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables with beneficial nutrients may benefit mental health by improving depressed mood.
Although the biochemical pathways linking fruits and vegetables to psychological symptoms are likely diverse and complex, one vitamin that may contribute to such changes is vitamin C.
Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and peptide hormones, and acts as a catalyst for many enzymes, all of which are required to maintain and enhance healthy brain functioning, including mood.
Kiwifruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which has shown a dose-dependent reduction in depression and overall mood disturbance in youth who consume low levels of fruits and vegetables.
Professor Connor said: “Our new findings provide a tangible and communicateable way for people to support their mental health. It is great for people to know that small changes to their diet, such as adding kiwi fruit, can make a difference to how they feel every day.”
Researchers conducted an 8-week dietary modification on 155 adults with low vitamin C.
Participants took either vitamin C supplements, a placebo, or two kiwifruit daily. They then reported their vitality, mood, sleep quality, sleep quantity, and physical activity using mobile phone surveys.
Scientists found that eating kiwi fruit improved vitality and mood within four days, and the improvement reached its peak in about 14-16 days. On the other hand, vitamin C improved mood slightly until day 12.
University of Auckland researcher Dr. Ben Fletcher said: “Understanding the nuances in when and how these effects occur day after day contributes to our knowledge of the potential benefits of vitamin C-rich foods and supplements on mental health. This helps us see that what we eat can have a rapid impact.” “Relatively to what we feel.”
“While vitamin C tablets showed some improvements, the study confirms the beneficial effects of consuming whole foods such as kiwi fruit,” he added.
“We encourage a holistic approach to nutrition and well-being, incorporating many nutrient-dense foods into our diet,” he said.