Study: Diet without fruits, vegetables linked to anxiety disorder

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Diet without fruits and vegetables could increase the risk of anxiety disorder, according to a study from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey and the University of Toronto in Canada.

Their findings revealed that individuals who did not consume much fruits and vegetables are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than those who eat more fruits and vegetables.

Their study titled “Nutritional Factors, Physical Health and Immigrant Status Are Associated with Anxiety Disorders among Middle-Aged and Older Adults: Findings from Baseline Data of The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)” examined the data of 26,991 participants of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging between 2010–2015. The participants underwent interviews, physical exams, and laboratory tests.

“It is estimated that 10% of the global population will suffer from anxiety disorders, which are a leading cause of disability,” notes lead author Karen Davison, Ph.D.

“For those who consumed less than three sources of fruits and vegetables daily, there was at least at 24% higher odds of anxiety disorder diagnosis,” Davison adds.


She also claims that if a diet without much fruits and vegetables could result in higher body fat, and hence, trigger systemic inflammation. Inflammation has been associated with anxiety.

Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the study showed that individuals who are single recorded 27% higher odds of having an anxiety disorder compared with married people.

“This may also partly explain the findings associated with body composition measures,” co-author Jose Mora-Almanza says, adding that “[a]s levels of total body fat increased beyond 36%, the likelihood of anxiety disorder was increased by more than 70%.”

Data also suggests that women are more likely to suffer from anxiety. The study shows that one in nine female participants had an anxiety disorder. On the other hand, only one in 15 men experienced anxiety.

“Our findings are in keeping with previous research which has also indicated that women are more vulnerable to anxiety disorders than men,” says study co-author Prod. Karen Kobayashi.