We are all familiar with the fact that a healthy diet plays a key role in our physical well-being. However, recent research seems to indicate that elevating our consumption of vegetables and fruits also helps to enhance our mental well-being.
The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía
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A recent study by Ocean and colleagues used longitudinal data from a study in the United Kingdom to test for a possible relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and well-being. They employed panel data analytical techniques on three waves collected between 2010 and 2017, following the same individuals in the UK Household Longitudinal Survey, while controlling for lifestyle behaviors, diet, and health.
The results of the report suggested that mental well-being ameliorates when the quantity and frequency of vegetables and fruits consumed increases. Hence, this evidence indicates that convincing people to eat more fruits and vegetables may improve considerably not only their physical health in a sustained manner but also their mental health in the short term.
On the other hand, Blanchflower and colleagues examined the effect of fruit and consumption on various health outcomes such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and mental well-being. Their results suggested that people who consumed three to four portions of fruit a day reported better psychological well-being. Further research by Brookie and colleagues, found that the relationship between mental well-being and fruit and vegetables was stronger when they were consumed raw rather than cooked or canned.
If this weren’t surprising enough, a study by Conner and colleagues, found that vegetable and fruit consumption even predicts eudaimonic well-being, which includes feelings of purpose, meaning, creativity and curiosity. All of this information may lead us to confirm that the 5 a day campaign from the World Health Organization, should be followed. The mentioned campaign, recommends individuals to eat a minimum of 400g of fruits and vegetables a day, as a means to lower the probability of health conditions such as strokes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer.
The 5 a day recommendation alludes to eating 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day in total, not 5 of each. We must not forget that it is also important to vary the combinations of fruits and vegetables that we consume on a day since different fruits and vegetables contain combinations of fiber, vitamins, and minerals which are also different. Finally, it is also important to mention that there is a great motivation for starting to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables right away, since the physical health benefits may be seen in the medium to long term, but the mental benefits may be seen in the short term.