Eating vegetables can impact your well-being

A five-year study by researchers at the University of Leeds suggests that eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables may be good for mental health as well as physical health. The study showed that an increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables was linked to an increase in mental well-being and life satisfaction.

The brain is an organ, just like the heart, stomach or liver. And whatever affects these organs can also affect the brain. This includes our diets. The last fifty years have seen significant changes to what we eat, how we process food and refine it, and an increase in food additives.

Nutrients found in a balanced diet, such as omega-3 and -6, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals are all essential for a healthy brain and body. There is supporting evidence that a balanced, nutritious diet has an impact on both short- and long-term mental health. Children in Food for Life schools are twice as likely to eat their five-a-day.

Food related activities including cooking and growing, and their associated benefits, are also linked with positive mental health. Food for Life programmes support good mental health and emotional well-being in the schools, nurseries, care homes and hospitals we work with by:

  • Supporting these places to provide healthy and nutritionally balanced meals for staff and the people that use them.
  • Training staff to feel confident in providing therapeutic food activities such as growing, cooking and hen keeping.
  • Encouraging community engagement and reducing loneliness through food-based activities and events such as Grandparent Gardening Week and Roast Dinner Day.
  • Supporting schools and care homes to form relationships with local farmers and growers. This means that children and older people can immerse themselves in green spaces and gain first hand experience of farm animals and the countryside.

Find out how our Food for Life programmes are supporting people to enjoy good food through shared meals, cooking and food growing activities.