Forget five a day: Now scientists say you'll be healthier and happier eating SEVEN daily portions of fruit and veg
Scientists now claim we need to eat seven portions of fruit and veg a day to stay healthy
Those who eat 7-8 portions a day felt more cheerful, loved and optimistic about the future

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UPDATED:

14:22 GMT, 11 October 2012

For years we’ve been told to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day to stay healthy.

But now scientists claim if we upped it to seven, we’d also be far happier.

They have discovered that people who eat between seven and eight portions a day felt more cheerful, loved and optimistic about the future.

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Seven a day: Scientists claim that people who eat between seven and eight portions of fruit and veg a day felt happier about themselves and life

Seven a day: Scientists claim that people who eat between seven and eight portions of fruit and veg a day felt happier about themselves and life

The researchers analysed surveys involving 80,000 Britons, which included questions on their diet and general feelings.

Each person was given a score between
0 and ten based on their satisfaction with life. The study found that
those who ate around eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day had an
average score that was one point higher than people who did not eat
any.

The link remained even when people’s exercise levels and overall diet – both of which can influence mood – were accounted for.

Although it is not known exactly how
fruit and veg improve wellbeing, they contain chemicals known as
antioxidants, which are thought to reduce stress levels.

Despite advice to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables, fewer than a third of Britons hit that target

Despite advice to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables, fewer than a third of Britons hit that target

Recently studies have found that children who eat more fruit and veg are less at risk of depression in later life.

Professor Andrew Oswald, of the
Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy at Warwick
University’s Department of Economics, which conducted the research,
said: ‘This study has shown surprising results. It’s an incredibly
strong pattern and we were stunned when we initially looked at the data.

‘We think we’re on to something
really important here. However, we don’t really know why this is –
whether there is something in the biochemistry of the fruit and veg
which works inside humans.

‘We know that fruit and veg carry a
lot of antioxidants and those protect us against attacks on the body.
But how that works through into our minds and emotions, researchers have
no idea.

‘I have decided it is prudent to eat
more fruit and vegetables. I am keen to stay cheery. If I were David
Cameron I would be getting my health advisers in and saying, “Should we
be increasing the message to seven-a-day”’

The study, published in the journal
Social Indicators Research, concludes: ‘Our findings are consistent
with the need for high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption for
mental health and not merely for physical health.’

The Department of Health has spent at least £4million on its ‘five a day’ advertising campaign since it was launched in 2003.

In contrast, the French are told to
eat ten portions a day, the Canadians between five and ten, and the
Japanese 13 portions of vegetables and four pieces of fruit.

It is not known how fruit and veg improve wellbeing but they contain antioxidants which are thought to reduce stress levels

It is not known how fruit and veg improve wellbeing but they contain antioxidants which are thought to reduce stress levels

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