Association of habitual intake of fruits and vegetables with depressive symptoms: the AusDiab study

Simone Radavelli-Bagatini, Reindolf Anokye, Nicola P. Bondonno, Marc Sim, Catherine P. Bondonno, Mandy J. Stanley, Craig Harms, Richard Woodman, Dianna J. Magliano, Jonathan E. Shaw, Robin M. Daly, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Joshua R. Lewis, Lauren C. Blekkenhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To investigate the relationship of habitual FV intake, different types of FV, and vegetable diversity with depressive symptoms. Methods: Australian men and women (n = 4105) aged > 25 years from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study were included. Dietary intake was assessed using a Food Frequency Questionnaire at baseline, 5 and 12 years. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the validated 10-item Centre for Epidemiology Studies Short Depression Scale at 12 years. Multiple logistic regression models were used to investigate the association between the exposures of interest and depressive symptoms using odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) across quartiles of FV intake and vegetable diversity. Analyses were multivariable-adjusted for confounding factors. Results: At 12 years, 425 (10.4%) participants had “any depressive symptoms”. Habitual FV intake was inversely associated with depressive symptoms at 12 years. After adjustment, participants in quartile 2 of FV intake (Q2; median 317 g/day) had a 20% lower odds of having any depressive symptoms (OR [95% CI] 0.80 [0.69, 0.95]) in comparison to those in the lowest quartile of FV intake (Q1; median 223 g/day). Yellow/orange/red and leafy green vegetables were the key vegetable types driving this association. Higher vegetable diversity (4–6 different vegetables/day) was associated with a 24–42% lower odds of having depressive symptoms when compared to < 3 different vegetables/day. The associations remained similar after further adjusting for diet quality. Conclusion: A FV-rich diet, consisting of a diverse range of vegetables, particularly yellow/orange/red and leafy green vegetables may help to lower depressive symptoms. Promoting such a diet, particularly in men and women with a low FV intake, may have a significant public health impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3743-3755
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Early online date29 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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