The Grapes of Contentment

Want to feel more confident and engaged in life? Take your mother’s advice: Eat more fruits and vegetables.
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(Photo: S-F/Shutterstock)

(Photo: S-F/Shutterstock)

A research team led by Saverio Stranges of the University of Warwick Medical School analyzed the responses of nearly 14,000 people who took part in the Health Survey for England in 2010 and 2011. Participants described their dietary habits and tobacco use, and responded to statements such as “I’ve been feeling confident” and “I’ve had energy to spare.”

(Illustration: Denis Carrier)

(Illustration: Denis Carrier)

The researchers write in the journal BMJ Open that “along with smoking the behavioral risk factor most consistently associated with mental health was fruit and vegetable consumption.”

For both men and women, eating above-average amounts of bananas, broccoli, and the like increased one’s odds of getting a high overall score for mental well-being, while eating few such foods increased the likelihood of getting low marks.

The researchers can’t definitively say that absorbing all those antioxidants directly led to more positive mental outlooks, but the correlation they discovered is clear. If you’re yearning for inner peace, don’t pass up the peas.

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