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Eating Fruits and Vegetables May Improve Mental Health

It has long been established that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for your physical health. Now a recent study suggests that it may be good for your mental wellbeing as well.

Participants in the study included 14,000 people in England over the age of 16 who participated in the Healthy Survey for England. Fifty-six% of the participants were female and 44% were male. The researchers collected information on mental and physical health, health-related behaviors, tobacco and alcohol use, demographics, and socio-economic characteristics. In order to assess mental wellbeing, the researchers used the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.

After analyzing the data, the researchers determined that 33.5% of the participants with high mental wellbeing ate five or more portions of fruits and vegetables daily. The percentage of people with high mental wellbeing dropped in correlation with the amount of fruits and vegetables they ate: 31.4% of people who ate three to four portions, 28.4% of people who ate one to two portions, and 6.8% who ate less than one portion.

Other than smoking, eating fruits and vegetables was the only health-related behavior consistently correlated with mental wellbeing in both men and women.

Researchers from the University of Warwick conducted the study. It was published on September 19, 2014, in BMJ Open.

Beyond mental health, there are a myriad of reasons for eating more fruits and vegetables, which are packed with all kinds of powerful antioxidants. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have been linked with healthier looking skin, heart health benefits and healthier levels of cholesterol. This is often attributed to antioxidants and their ability to fight free radicals in the body.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can be as simple as grabbing an apple as a snack or making sure you have a fruit or vegetable at every meal.

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