Turns out we should’ve been eating our greens all along as researchers show clear links between fruit and veg intake and mental wellbeing.
Ever since we’ve been children we’ve all been told to “eat our greens.” Usually this was met with vehement protest and point blank refusal. Parents would often counter by holding dessert to ransom, a cowardly move as far as we were concerned. However, it turns out that our parents may have been right after all (although I’ll deny that to this day).
Fruit, Vegetables, and Your Mental Health
Research out of the University of East Anglia in the U.K. has provided proof that children who eat more fruit and veg have better mental health. “While the links between nutrition and physical health are well understood, until now, not much has been known about whether nutrition plays a part in children’s emotional wellbeing,” explained lead researcher Prof. Alisa Welch.
The research team surveyed almost 9,000 children using a combination of self-reported dietary information and age-appropriate mental health surveys. The results were quite staggering, with only a quarter of students reporting consumption of the recommended five-a-day. Even more worrying was the 10% of students who don’t eat any!
A Deeper Look At The Mental Health Findings
A strong link was found between a nutritious diet and a higher level of mental wellbeing, particularly amongst adolescents. It’s arguably never been more difficult to maintain your mental health as a schoolkid, with the increasing influence of social media and the twisting of modern school culture, but these findings can at least point us to a simple way to try and alleviate some of the pressure on the next generation.
Results also showed that nutrition had an equal, if not stronger, impact on mental wellbeing as more egregious factors such as witnessing violence in the household. Findings like this do an excellent job of showing just how important striving to get our five-a-day really is, particularly for young people!
As to what we can do next with this information, I’ll leave that to Professor Welch.
“Public health strategies and school policies should be developed to ensure that good quality nutrition is available to all children both before and during school in order to optimise mental wellbeing and empower children to fulfil their full potential.”Prof. Alisa Welch
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
To see the results of the study for yourself, you can access the journal article here.
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