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Consuming More Fruits and Vegetables Associated With Improved Mental Health

Previous research has found that eating healthy food may promote the growth of “good” bacteria, which in turn positively affects neurotransmitter production. Eating junk food may cause inflammation and hamper neurotransmitter production. A recent study has found that children who eat more fruit and vegetables may have better mental health.

Participants in the study included 7,570 secondary school children and 1,253 primary school children who took part in the Norfolk children and Young People's Health and Wellbeing Survey. Participants self-reported their dietary habits. Mental health was evaluated using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale and the Stirling Children’s Well-being Scale.

Participants who consumed five or more fruits and vegetables per day had mental well-being scores that were 3.73 units higher than those who didn’t consume any. Participants who ate a healthy breakfast had mental well-being scores that were 2.73 units higher than those who did not eat breakfast or consumed only an energy drink. Participants who did not eat lunch had mental well-being scores that were 2.95 units lower than those who ate a healthy lunch.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia. The study was published online ahead of print on September 27, 2021 in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

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