Increase Produce Consumption for Mental Health

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control, only one in 10 adults meet the daily recommended intake of one-and-a-half to two cups of fruits and two to three cups of vegetables. It has been well established that meeting these guidelines as part of a balanced diet can potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Research is now starting to look beyond the role produce plays in physical health and more on how fruits and vegetables may impact mental health, as well.

A recent large longitudinal study published in Social Science Medicine using General Health Questionnaire GHQ-12 suggests that mental well-being increases with quantity and frequency of fruits and vegetables consumed. Although these are not causation findings, the results do suggest a link between high fruit and vegetable consumption and improved mental health.

Summer is the ideal time to break the statistic of low fruit and vegetable consumption and improve our mental state. Seek out flavorful, local produce or grow it using simple supplies.  Even with limited space, many vegetables can easily be grown in pots. Grow a salad mix by planting lettuce, spinach and swiss chard in a well-draining bowl on the doorstep. 

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