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Study Links Mental Health with Diet

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If you’re not feeling mentally well today you may want to consider getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet. A new study finds that there’s a direct link between mental well-being and the number of fruits and vegetables consumed each day.

Researchers from the University of Warwick Medical School recently examined data collected through the Health Survey for England. This data included nearly 14,000 adults aged 16 or older.

The survey focused on the mental and physical well-being of participants. It also included an examination of their health-related behavior, demographics, and socio-economic factors.

One of the research team’s most interesting findings: the more fruits and vegetables eaten, the lower the chance of low well-being. In other words, those people who ate ate more fruits and vegetables were more likely to feel mentally satisfied.

Specifically, the researchers found that 35.5 percent of participants with high mental well-being ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Only 6.8 percent of people who consumed less than one portion of fruits and vegetables had a high mental well-being.

“The data suggest that [the] higher an individual’s fruit and vegetable intake, the lower the chance of their having low mental well-being,” noted Dr. Saverio Stranges, the report’s lead author.

Other factors contributing to a participant’s mental well being: smoking and exercise. Those people who reported feeling best typically consumed healthy foods, avoided smoking, and exercised regularly.

The researchers believe it’s vital that the public understands the connection between mental and physical well-being. “[Mental illness] is hugely costly to both the individual and society,” noted Sarah Stewart Brown, who worked with Stranges on the study. “Mental well-being underpins many physical diseases, unhealthy lifestyles and social inequalities in health.”

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