ISLAMABAD: New research provides yet another reason to include fruits and vegetables in the diet, after finding that eating up to seven servings per day can lower the risk of psychological stress for middle-aged women.First study author Binh Nguyen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues recently reported their findings in BMJ Open.

Eating five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of stress, compared with adults who consumed zero to four servings a day.

However, when looking at the results by sex, the researchers found that the link between fruit and vegetable intake and reduced stress was much stronger for women.

Women who ate five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day had a 23 percent lower risk of stress, compared with women who consumed zero to one serving per day.

Women who consumed two servings of fruits daily had a 16 percent lower risk of stress than women who consumed zero to one serving, while eating three to four servings of vegetables daily was linked to an 18 percent lower stress risk.

Eating more than seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day was not associated with lower stress risk, the team reports.

The researchers say that while their findings support current guidelines that recommend fruit and vegetable consumption as part of a healthful diet, further research is needed to better determine how these foods might impact stress.

The authors writes that"Fruit and vegetable consumption may help reduce the prevalence of psychological distress among middle-aged and older adults. However, the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and the incidence of psychological distress requires further investigation and possibly, a longer follow-up time."