Study Says Fruits and Veggies May Make You Happier

Everyone knows you should eat the rainbow, but it's not always easy to choose tomatoes and kale over cheese and pasta. Comfort foods feel so, well, comfortable.

But as it turns out, the stuff you grow in a garden may actually make you happier than the alternative. A recent study conducted by the University of Warwick's Medical School found both high and low mental wellbeing were consistently associated with fruit and vegetable consumption.

More fruits and veggies may equal happier humans.

See also: Fruits and Veggies Can Help You Stop Smoking, Study Suggests

The study looked at 14,000 participants in England aged 16 or over, with 56% of those being female and 44% male (as part of the Health Survey for England). (Yes, this was England, not the U.S., but they're not exactly aliens compared to Americans.)

According to the research, 33.5% of respondents with high mental wellbeing ate five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8% who ate less than one portion.

So what is high mental well being, exactly?

"Mental Wellbeing is regarded as feeling good and functioning well - so encompassing both the ancients' eudiamonic (functioning) - and hedonic (feelings) perspectives. The two are closely connected because functioning well involves personal growth and development which is hard to do if you are not feeling good. And functioning well particularly in terms of personal relationships has a big effect on how you (and others) feel," says Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, one of the study's authors.

"The suggestion that fruit and vegetable consumption also impacts on your mental wellbeing is new, although we are not the only researchers making this suggestion. Our data is correlational so although the case is building it isn't yet strong enough to make a 'prescription'," Stewart-Brown explains.

"It could be that people with good mental wellbeing tend to eat more fruit and vegetables rather than the other way round. But there is one other small study which showed that fruit and vegetable consumption affected mood for two days."

"In public health terms we know that fruit and vegetable consumption is very important for physical wellbeing and given the fact that mental and physical wellbeing are closely linked it is perhaps not surprising that it also affects mental wellbeing."

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.

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