Food and Behaviour Research

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23 September 2014 - Science Daily - Fruit and vegetable consumption could be as good for your mental as your physical health

New research focused on mental wellbeing found that high and low mental wellbeing were consistently associated with an individual's fruit and vegetable consumption.


Please find the underpinning open access research paper here:

Stranges et al, 2014 - Major health-related behaviours and mental well-being in the general population

This research highlights once more the importance of a holistic approach to both physical and mental health -including diet and nutrition.

If you would like to find out more, why not join us at our forthcoming conference to hear from a panel of leading international researchers and expert practitioners about the links between diet and Anxiety, Stress and Depression across all age groups:

Nutrition and Mental Resilience in
Children and Adults: 
Feeding Better Health, Wellbeing and Performance

Wednesday 29 October 2014
RCS, London


More information can be found here or

The research, conducted by the University of Warwick's Medical School using data from the Health Survey for England, and published by BMJ Open focused on mental wellbeing and found that high and low mental wellbeing were consistently associated with an individual's fruit and vegetable consumption.

33.5% of respondents with high mental wellbeing ate five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8% who ate less than one portion. Commenting on the findings Dr Saverio Stranges, the research paper's lead author, said: "The data suggest that higher an individual's fruit and vegetable intake the lower the chance of their having low mental wellbeing."

Low mental wellbeing is strongly linked to mental illness and mental health problems, but high mental wellbeing is more than the absence of symptoms or illness; it is a state in which people feel good and function well. Optimism, happiness, self-esteem, resilience and good relationships with others are all part of this state. Mental wellbeing is important not just to protect people from mental illness but because it protects people against common and serious physical diseases.

Discussing the implications of the research, co-author Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown says that: "Mental illness is hugely costly to both the individual and society, and mental wellbeing underpins many physical diseases, unhealthy lifestyles and social inequalities in health. It has become very important that we begin to research the factors that enable people to maintain a sense of wellbeing.

"Our findings add to the mounting evidence that fruit and vegetable intake could be one such factor and mean that people are likely to be able to enhance their mental wellbeing at the same time as preventing heart disease and cancer."