U. WARWICK (UK) — Happiness and mental health are highest among people who eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day, a new report shows.
Economists and public health researchers studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain and found mental well-being appeared to rise with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables people consumed. Well-being peaked at seven portions a day.
Most western governments currently recommend five portions a day for cardiovascular health and to protect against cancer risk.
In Britain today, a quarter of the population eat just one portion or no portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Only a tenth of the British population currently consume the magic number of seven or more daily portions, according to the study that will be published in the journal Social Indicators Research.
The study doesn’t distinguish among different kinds of fruits and vegetables. A portion is defined as approximately 80 grams.
“The statistical power of fruit and vegetables was a surprise,” says co-author Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor at the University of Warwick. “Diet has traditionally been ignored by well-being researchers.”
Much remains to be learned about cause-and-effect and about the possible mechanisms at work.
Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at the University of Warwick, and David Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College, are co-authors on the study.
Source: University of Warwick