While the nutritional benefits of fruit and vegetables have been well-documented for many years, researchers at the University of Warwick have found that those who tend to eat greater amounts of these foods rank their mental wellbeing higher than those who don’t.
Lead author of the study published in BMJ Open, Dr Saverio Stranges, states that “the data suggests that the higher an individual’s fruit and vegetable intake, the lower their chance of their having low mental wellbeing”.
The study, which examined 14,000 English participants, required that they fill out surveys regarding both their mental and physical health, as well as their socio-economic status and health behaviours.
34 percent of those who completed the survey that claimed strong mental wellbeing also ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day, whereas only seven percent of those with good mental wellbeing consumed less than a single daily portion.
While the study lacks conclusive evidence as to exactly why these foods trigger such a response, it does once more prove a correlation between the two factors.
“In every study we looked at, there was a correlation in fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health… What’s more, every additional portion increased the level of wellbeing,” said Sarah Stewart-Brown, co-author of the paper.
Unfortunately not enough of us manage to consume the required daily amounts of these foods because of time constraints, money concerns and taste. However something as simple as a smoothie every morning, or adding a couple of extra ingredients to a soup could do a world of good for our mental wellbeing.