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Study backs 7-a-day for happiness and mental wellbeing

Last updated on 10-Oct-2012 at 15:33 GMT2012-10-10T15:33:08Z

Happiness and mental health are highest among people who eat seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day, according new data.

New research published in the journal Social Indicators Research suggests that mental wellbeing appears to rise with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables people consume.

Researchers in economics and public health from the University of Warwick, UK, studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain – finding that mental wellbeing peaked at seven portions a day.

While most Western governments currently recommend '5-a-day' for cardiovascular health and as protection against cancer risk – the new study may suggest that this needs to be increased to take mental wellbeing into account.

Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, who co-authored the research said: "The statistical power of fruit and vegetables was a surprise. Diet has traditionally been ignored by well-being researchers."

She emphasised that much remained to be learned about cause-and-effect and about the possible mechanisms at work, and that randomized trials should now be considered.

The full study can be accessed by clicking here.