- Diet affects every aspect of physical and mental health and contributes to overall health.
- Researchers are still seeking to understand which dietary components have the greatest impact on mental health.
- A recent study found that eating kiwi fruit in people with low vitamin C levels helped improve their mood within a few days.
Following a healthy diet can help improve quality of life, but researchers and nutrition experts are still seeking to understand the mechanisms that drive the link between food and mood.
A recently published study British Journal of Nutrition The effects of kiwi and vitamin C on mood were studied, as well as how quickly participants’ moods improved.
Results showed improvements in mood after four days of eating kiwi fruit, with slightly stronger effects on energy and mood than study participants who took vitamin C supplements.
Research findings point to the impact of vitamin C on mental health, and natural food sources may be the best way to get this nutrient.
Fruit is part of a healthy diet, and kiwi fruit is an option that offers a variety of nutrients.
For example, kiwi fruit may aid gastrointestinal function and improve blood sugar and lipid levels. It contains fiber, potassium and vitamin E, as well as a fairly high level of vitamin C.
Previous research has shown that vitamin C supplements and fruits rich in vitamin C can help improve mood.
In the current study, the researchers hypothesized that vitamin C may play a role in mood and healthy brain function. They were curious about how fruit intake might affect mental health over time.
This particular study analyzed data from three placebo-controlled trials. Participants were adults between 18 and 35 years old with low plasma vitamin C levels.
The researchers divided the participants into three groups: one took a daily vitamin C supplement, a second group took two kiwis a day, and a third group took a placebo tablet every day.
Researchers used smartphone surveys to collect data from participants, who took blood tests every two weeks.
They were unable to blind participants or researchers to the kiwi intervention. However, researchers and participants won’t know who got the placebo and who got the vitamin C tablets until after the study is complete.
Participants received the assigned intervention or placebo for four weeks and answered surveys every other day. These surveys collect data on multiple components, including:
- energy and fatigue
- sleep quality and quantity
- physical activity level
According to their analysis, the researchers found that participants who consumed kiwi fruit experienced improvements in mood and energy around day 4 and around day 14.
These participants’ mood improvements peaked between days 14 and 16. Participants in the vitamin C supplement group did not experience improved mood until around day 12.
Study author Tamlyn Connor, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, explains: Medical News Today:
“As part of this placebo-controlled nutrition trial, we used smartphone technology to survey mood over eight weeks and found improvements in mood within four days and then two weeks after the introduction of a whole-food vitamin C product (Sungold Kiwi). Peaking left and right.
Our research program demonstrates the value of frequently measuring real-time mood changes in daily life in intervention trials to understand patterns and time frames of change. We were surprised that participants randomly assigned to the whole-food condition (2 Sungold kiwis per day) showed improvements in mood within four days of the intervention. “
The study points to the importance of incorporating vitamin C into dietary patterns and how this nutrient can benefit mental health. It also suggests that the benefits may be most pronounced when obtained from natural food sources.
“This trial highlights a key difference between food vitamins and synthetic vitamins,” said non-study author Rick Miller, a registered dietitian and nutritionist.
“They are not equivalent, and a ‘whole foods first’ approach should always be the first port of call for nutritional needs and potentially related symptoms (such as mood).”
While there are encouraging findings supporting the benefits of consuming kiwi fruit, the study does have some limitations.
First, it’s observational, so it can’t be proven that kiwi causes a mood boost or other results. Second, it relies on participant self-report, which does not always guarantee accuracy.
The study also lasted over 8 weeks and included only a relatively small number of adult participants within a certain age range.
The setting of the survey may also have limited the findings. For example, the researchers included only limited data from the emotional state rating scale in the participant survey, and the researchers only sent the survey to participants every other day.
Participants were also relatively mentally healthy, so it’s unclear how beneficial the intervention would be for people with emotional distress.
The researchers also did not specify when participants needed to consume the supplement or kiwi fruit, and future studies may examine the impact of this timing on the results.
Racial differences between groups may also affect the results. The researchers also acknowledge that in addition to vitamin C, other components of kiwi may also contribute to the mental health benefits observed among participants. Finally, the researchers acknowledged that there was some risk of positive response bias and that there were non-random elements in assigning some clinics to the kiwi or tablet intervention.
Dr. Connor identified the following areas for continued research:
“We hope other scientists will test time-course patterns of mood following nutritional intervention. Replication is important in science. Who does dietary intervention help most? Do some people benefit more or less from vitamin C? Are there demographic, psychological Or do environmental differences predict changes in the mood benefits of vitamin C?”
Overall, the results still suggest that kiwi fruit and vitamin C are beneficial to mental health.
“The results of the study in people with low vitamin C levels were impressive and, impressively, when kiwi was separated from the vitamin C tablets, it also showed no response to the placebo vitamin C tablets,” said Dr. Alex Dimitriu, bi-committee – A board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist and founder of the Center for Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine in Menlo Park, California, tells MNT. Dr. Dimitriu was not involved in the study.
“In addition to kiwi, adding fruits that are not high in vitamin C might be a good direction to go. For those who don’t eat enough citrus fruits or whose vitamin C levels may be low, research like this supports the idea that getting it from the diet The relative risk and no-cost intervention of incorporating more vitamin C could have huge benefits,” he added.
“Given the significant benefits of normal levels of vitamin C, this study highlights the importance of consuming healthy amounts of citrus.[or] Vitamin C in the diet. In our impatient world, the speed of these improvements is astonishing. “