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Fruits and vegetables for mental health

News — Posted 30/09/14

Eating at least five serves of fruits and vegetables each day boosts your mental health and wellbeing, a new study suggests.

Eat those greens! Experts have long known that a healthy diet is good for mental wellbeing. Now, a new study suggests that eating at least five portions of fruits or vegetables each day can help to boost your mental health, as well as being good for your body.

The research was conducted at the University of Warwick using data collected from the Health Survey for England, which included 14,000 people aged 16 and over. Overall, a strong link was found between the amount of fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet and their level of mental wellbeing, and those with the highest mental wellbeing at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day.

"The data suggest that the higher an individual's fruit and vegetable intake, the lower the chance of their having low mental well-being," says Dr Saverio Stranges, lead author of the study.

"Along with smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption was the health-related behaviour most consistently associated with both low and high mental well-being. 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.”

Previous research has suggested that eating five portions of fruits and vegetables a day is the optimum amount for lowering the risk of death from any cause, while another suggests we should be eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day.

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