Fruits and vegetables linked to mental well-being

London: The more portions of fruits and vegetables you take in a day, the better are your chances of improving mental well-being along with your physical health, says a study.

"The data suggest that higher an individual's fruit and vegetable intake the lower the chance of their having low mental well-being," said lead author of the study Saverio Stranges from the University of Warwick in Britain.

The research involved 14,000 participants in Britain aged 16 or over, 56 percent of them females and 44 percent males, as part of the Health Survey for England.

They found 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.

While 31.4 percent of those with high mental well-being ate three-four portions and 28.4 percent ate one-two.

"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," Stranges added.

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 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.

Mental well-being was assessed using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS).

The study appeared in the journal BMJ Open.

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