Kiwifruit, often known for its tangy taste and vibrant green color, has now emerged as a potential ally in boosting mood and vitality, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Otago. Published in The British Journal of Nutrition, the research sheds light on the rapid effects of kiwifruit consumption, with improvements in mood and vitality observed in as little as four days.
The study, led by co-author Professor Tamlin Conner from the Department of Psychology, aimed to explore the link between vitamin C intake and its impact on mental well-being. Vitamin C has long been associated with improved mood, vitality, and overall well-being, while its deficiency is linked to higher rates of depression and cognitive impairment.
Professor Conner highlighted the scarcity of research focusing on the timeframe for mood improvements following the introduction of vitamin C supplements or whole food sources. In response to this gap, the researchers conducted an 8-week dietary intervention involving 155 adults with low vitamin C levels. Participants were divided into groups receiving either a vitamin C supplement, a placebo, or two kiwifruits daily.
Using smartphone surveys, participants reported their vitality, mood, flourishing, sleep quality, sleep quantity, and physical activity throughout the intervention period. The results revealed that kiwifruit supplementation led to significant improvements in vitality and mood within just four days, reaching peak effects around days 14-16. Interestingly, kiwifruit also showed improvements in flourishing from day 14 onwards. In comparison, vitamin C supplements showed marginal mood improvement until day 12.
Lead author Dr. Ben Fletcher emphasized the importance of understanding the nuances of these effects, stating that the study contributes to our understanding of the potential benefits of vitamin C-rich foods on mental health. He stressed the significance of incorporating whole foods like kiwifruit into one’s diet, highlighting their potential synergistic effects compared to isolated supplements.
Professor Conner noted that the study not only offers practical insights for individuals seeking to enhance their mental well-being but also introduces a novel methodology in nutritional research. The use of intensive smartphone surveys provided real-time insights into day-to-day changes in mood-related outcomes, offering a comprehensive understanding of the impact of dietary interventions.
In conclusion, the study underscores the potential of kiwifruit as a readily accessible means to support mental well-being and advocates for a holistic approach to nutrition and overall health.
This groundbreaking research not only expands our understanding of the relationship between diet and mental health but also underscores the importance of incorporating nutrient-rich foods like kiwifruit into our daily lives.
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