Posted on Dec 21, 2016, 6 a.m.
Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables may protect both mental and physical wellbeing.
Research has uncovered a link between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental wellbeing. Dr Saverio Stranges and colleagues at Warwick University (UK) examined data of 14,000 people taking part in the Health Survey for England in order to investigate the links between lifestyle choices and mental wellbeing. Results showed that high and low mental wellbeing were consistently associated with an individual’s fruit and vegetable consumption. 33.5% of respondents with high mental wellbeing ate 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and just 6.8% ate less than 1 portion. While just 20.3% of respondents with low mental wellbeing ate 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and 14.2% ate less than 1 portion. The only other factor consistently associated with mental wellbeing in men and women was smoking. Commenting on the findings Dr Stranges said: “The data suggest that higher an individual’s fruit and vegetable intake the lower the chance of their having low mental wellbeing”. Co-author of the study, Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown added: “Mental illness is hugely costly to both the individual and society, and mental wellbeing underpins many physical diseases, unhealthy lifestyles and social inequalities in health.”
Stranges S, Samaraweera PC, Taggart F, Kandala NB, Stewart-Brown S. Major health-related behaviours and mental well-being in the general population: the Health Survey for England. BMJ Open 2014;4:e005878.