Time and again we have been told to eat healthy foods, including fresh fruits every day. The implications of an unhealthy diet, especially fried snacks are not unknown. But seldom do we put much thought into it and gorge away on salty and spicy and fried snacks to curb our in-between-the-meals hunger. Some of us take health into consideration and switch to "healthier" snacks that are not fried or are made with healthy foods. But is this still the best choice?
A comparative research conducted by researchers from Aston University in the UK suggests that snacking on fruits is better than eating savoury snacks for mental health. The study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
This cross-sectional study evaluated snacking habits of 428 healthy adults with participants completing a range of validated questionnaires measuring dietary habits and psychological health. Stepwise multiple regression revealed that more frequent consumption of fruit was associated with reduced symptoms of depression. On the other hand, it was seen that more frequent savoury snacking was associated with increased symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety and reduced psychological wellbeing, via an increase in cognitive failures.
Lead author, PhD student Nicola-Jayne Tuck commented: "Other studies have found an association between fruit and vegetables and mental health, but few have looked at fruit and vegetables separately - and even fewer evaluate both frequency and quantity of intake.
"Both fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fibre and essential micronutrients which promote optimal brain function, but these 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," she added.
(Also Read: Diet For Stress: 5 Go-To Foods For Times You Are Feeling Stressed)
How And When To Eat Fruits For Snacking - Experts Suggest
Nutritionist, Shilpa Arora says, "Fruits are a meal and they should not be paired with main meals. As fruits contain sugar, it gets fermented when combined with heavy proteins, leading to digestive issues."
Some people eat fruits after their meals considering them a healthier dessert option. That is wrong. Dr. Zamurrud Patel, Consultant Dietitian, Global Hospitals Mumbai comments, "You should not eat fruits right after a meal, it will not be processed, and the nutrients may not be absorbed properly either.
Dr. Patel adds, "Fruits should be eaten in the morning on an empty stomach after a glass of water. This will help detox your system. You can also have it between breakfast and lunch and in the evening as snacks. Make sure to leave a gap of at least 30 minutes between a meal and a fruit snack."
You must also avoid eating fruits at night right before bedtime. Have it at least two to three hours before going to sleep.
So, revamp your snacks menu with the vibrant and colourful fruits. Here is a list of some super fruits you must add to your diet.
About Neha GroverLove for reading roused her writing instincts. Neha is guilty of having a deep-set fixation with anything caffeinated. When she is not pouring out her nest of thoughts onto the screen, you can see her reading while sipping on coffee.