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Why 5 a Day Matters

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As autumn leaves begin to fall and our days get sadly shorter, we’ve got big plans here at IMAGE HQ to keep our minds and bodies ticking over through the winter months. Last week we began a discussion on the myriad ways in which we can boost our immune systems and strengthen our resistance against the dreaded colds and flus, but today we’re looking at how to keep our moods from dipping.

Once again, it comes back to nutrition. As explained at length by T Colin Campbell in Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (which, if you haven’t read it, you really ought to, it’s truly mind blowing), it’s here that we should start when looking at how to improve our health and well being, not to the world of pharmaceuticals.

We all know the positive effects that eating all of your greens can have on your physical health, but your fruit and veggie intake can do so much more than that, as a new study suggests they’re vital to optimum mental health.

As per Medical News Today, researchers from the Medical School at the University of Warwick reveal that they have discovered that a person’s low or high mental wellbeing is associated with the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed.

The study was carried out using data collected from the Health Survey for England, which included 14,000 participants, 56% of which were female, 44% of which were male.

As further incentive to make sure you get your full five a day, Dr. Saverio Stranges, lead author of the study explained that 33.5 percent of the participants, who had high mental wellbeing, ate at least five portions of vegetables and fruits each day, when compared to just 6.8 percent participants who ate one portion or less.

Meanwhile, the researchers found that 31.4 percent of the high mental wellbeing participants ate three to four portions and about 28.4 percent of those ate one or two portions of vegetables and fruits per day.

As you can see, ‘the higher the veg and fruit intake, the lower the chance of low well-being.’

“”Along with smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption was the health-related behavior most consistently associated with both low and high mental well-being. 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 wellbeing in the general population.”

“Our findings add to the mounting evidence that fruit and vegetable intake could be one such factor and mean that people are likely to enhance their mental well-being at the same time as preventing heart disease and cancer,” explains Stranges.

So when you feel the winter blues coming on, resist the temptation to feast on chocolate and biscuits that we all know give us a short term high, and know that a veggie packed stir fry or a free radical fighting juice will have far greater benefits on both your physical and mental wellbeing.

@CarolineForan

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