We are all aware that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day is good for our physical well-being. Most western governments currently recommend a ‘5-a-day’ for cardiovascular health and as protection against cancer risk. New research, however, demonstrated that the consumption of fruits and vegetables is strongly associated with our mental wellbeing too.
The research, conducted by the University of Warwick’s Medical School using data from the Health Survey for England, and published by BMJ Open revealed that 33.5% of respondents with high mental wellbeing ate five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8% who ate less than one portion.
“Alongside smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption was the health-related behaviour most consistently associated with both low and high mental well-being,” the research paper’s lead author, Dr Saverio Stranges stated. And continued: “ these novel findings suggest that fruit and vegetable intake may play a potential role as a driver, not just of physical, but also of mental wellbeing in the general population.”
Co-author Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown also said that: “Mental illness is hugely costly to both the individual and society, and mental well-being underpins many physical diseases, unhealthy lifestyles and social inequalities in health. It has become very important that we begin to research the factors that enable people to maintain a sense of wellbeing. Our findings add to the mounting evidence that fruit and vegetable intake could be one such factor and mean that people are likely to be able to enhance their mental wellbeing at the same time as preventing heart disease and cancer.”