According to their findings, eating just one extra portion of fruits and vegetables a day could have an equivalent effect on mental well-being as around eight extra days of walking a month.
“It’s well-established that eating fruit and vegetables can benefit physical health,” said Neel Ocean of the University of Leeds, lead author of the study.
“Our research builds on previous work in Australia and New Zealand by verifying this relationship using a much bigger UK sample.”
Previous studies had established that healthy dietary habits might offer some psychological benefits in the long run but this study shows that consuming more fruits and vegetables “may also improve mental well-being in the shorter term”.
“While further work is needed to demonstrate cause and effect, the results are clear: people who do eat more fruit and vegetables report a higher level of mental well-being and life satisfaction than those who eat less,” Neel added.