By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA, OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but did you know that fruits and vegetables could increase our mental well-being?

In a study (1) of 13, 983 adults, aged 16 years and older (56% females), were surveyed during 2010 and 2011. Mental well-being was assessed using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS). Odds ratio of low and high mental well-being were estimated for body mass index (BMI), smoking, drinking habits, and fruit and vegetable intake.

What did the study show?
This study found that eating 5 or more portions of vegetables and fruit was associated with an increased likelihood of elevated sense of mental well-being.

How much fruit and vegetables per day are recommended?
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for an average person on 2,000 calorie per day diet to maintain weight and health, approximately 2 measuring cups of fruit and 2½ measuring cups of vegetables per day is recommended (2,3).

Are there any exceptions?
For lettuce and other raw leafy greens, 2 measuring cups counts towards 1 cup of vegetables. For dried fruit, you only need to eat ½ cup to get the equivalent of 1 cup of fruit (3).

Are you eating enough fruit and vegetables to improve your sense of well-being? Will that help you feel better? How do you know?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

1. Stragnes S, et al. Major health-related behaviours and mental well-being in the general population: the Health Survey for England. BMJ Open. 2014; 4(9): e005878. Published online 2014 Sep 19. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005878 PMCID: PMC4170205
2. Agriculture USDo, Services USDoHaH. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 7th edn Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2010.
3. The nutrition source. Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day.

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