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The potential role of fruit and vegetables in aspects of psychological well-being: a review of the literature and future directions

  • Ciara Rooney (a1), Michelle C. McKinley (a1) and Jayne V. Woodside (a1)
Abstract

The objective of the present paper was to review the literature investigating the potential relationship between fruit and vegetables (FV) and psychological well-being. The rising prevalence of mental ill health is causing considerable societal burden. Inexpensive and effective strategies are therefore required to improve the psychological well-being of the population, and to reduce the negative impact of mental health problems. A growing body of literature suggests that dietary intake may have the potential to influence psychological well-being. For example, studies have suggested that particular dietary constituents, including vitamins and minerals, might be beneficial to psychological health. However, in order to better reflect normal dietary intake, health-based research has increasingly begun to focus on whole foods and dietary patterns, rather than individual nutrients. One food group that has received increasing attention with regard to psychological health is FV. This is probably a result of the strong evidence base, which exists in relation to their protective association with a number of chronic diseases, as well as the fact that they are a rich source of some of the nutrients which have been linked to psychological health. While some promising findings exist with regards to FV intake and psychological well-being, overall, results are inconsistent. Possible reasons for this, such as methodological issues related to study design and the measurement of psychological well-being and FV intake, are discussed within this review. Based on the predominantly observational nature of existing literature, the present paper concludes that future well-designed randomised controlled trials are required to investigate the relationship further.

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* Corresponding author: C. Rooney, fax +44 (0)2890235900, email crooney37@qub.ac.uk
References
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