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Fruit and Vitamin B6 May Relieve Anxiety and Depression

Wooden bowl of fruit including sliced grapefruit, kiwi, watermelon, berries and cherries

Jo Sonn/

The best strategy to stay upbeat may be to reach for the fruit bowl, suggests a new study comparing the habits and mental states of 428 people published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at the UK’s Aston University found that the more often people ate fruit, the lower they scored for depression and the higher for mental well-being. The frequency of fruit consumption seemed to be more important to psychological health than the total amount consumed. People that ate savory snacks such as potato chips, which are low in nutrients, were more likely to report more frequent memory lapses and greater levels of anxiety and depression. The researchers found no connection between eating vegetables and psychological health. Nutrients can be lost during cooking. “As we are more likely to eat fruit raw, this could potentially explain its stronger influence on our psychological health,” says lead author Nicola-Jayne Tuck.

In another study, researchers from the UK’s University of Reading gave 478 young adults either high doses of vitamins B6 or B12 or a placebo. After one month, they found that 100 milligrams of the B6 (about 50 times the recommended daily allowance) significantly boosted gamma aminobutyric acid, which inhibits excitatory impulses in the brain, and reduced self-reported anxiety and depression levels. B12 had no such effects.