Healthy foods tied to better mental health

Posted on September 26, 2014

New findings suggest mental health is correlated to the consumption of fruits and vegetables with a magic number of five portions a day associated with high mental well-being.

Researchers from the University of Warwick conducted a survey involving 14,000 participants in England aged 16 or over, with 56 percent of those being female and 44 percent male, as part of the Health Survey for England. They discovered that 33.5 percent of respondents with high mental well-being ate five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8 percent who ate less than one portion.

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

Low mental well-being is strongly linked to mental illness and mental health problems, but high mental well-being is more than the absence of symptoms or illness — it is a state in which people feel good and function well. Optimism, happiness, self-esteem, resilience, and good relationships with others are all part of this state. Mental well-being is important not just to protect people from mental illness but because it protects people against common and serious physical diseases.

Findings from this study add to the mounting evidence that fruit and vegetable intake could be a factor to maintain mental well-being and mean that people are likely to be able to enhance their mental well-being while preventing heart disease and cancer at the same time.

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Category(s):Health / Illness / Medical Issues, Mental Health in Asia

Source material from Psych Central