A healthy nutrition, with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables taken five times a day, has a significant positive effect on mental health, a new research found.
University of Warwich researchers noticed that 35 percent of participants with high well-being scores ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, in contrast with 7 percent who ate only one portion.
The study is published in British Medical Journal Open.
Additional numbers are interesting, with 34 percent of subject with high mental well-being having three-four servings of fruits and vegetables, while 28.4 percent ate one or two.
Even though many other factors contribute to mental well-being, only smoking and healthy eating, especially fruits and vegetables, have been consistent for both men and women in the study.
“The data suggest that higher an individual’s fruit and vegetable intake the lower the chance of their having low mental well-being,” says Saverio Stranges, M.D., Ph.D., and lead researcher for the paper.
None of the participants with high mental well-being were associated with alcohol consumption or obesity.
Stranges added: “Along with smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption was the health-related behavior 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 well-being in the general population.”
Reserchers state that low mental well-being is a strong predictor of mental illness or mental heath problems. High mental well-being however, is not a mere absence of symptoms of illness. Rather, it is a state where people express happiness, confidence, feed good about themselves, and function well in society.