HANOVER, N.H. (CBS Connecticut) — An apple a day will do more than just keep the doctor away.

People who eat seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day have the highest levels of happiness and mental health, according to a new study by the University of Warwick and Dartmouth University.

Researchers studied the eating habits of 80,000 people and found that their happiness and state of well-being rose with the number of servings of fruits and vegetables they had per day.

“The statistical power of fruit and vegetables was a surprise. Diet has traditionally been ignored by well-being researchers,” study co-author Sarah Stewart-Brown, a professor of public health, said in a press release put out by the university.

“The study has shown surprising results, and I have decided it is prudent to eat more fruit and vegetables. I am keen to stay cheery,” study co-author Andrew Oswalk, a professor in economics, also said in the press release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says eating fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. The CDC also says that fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

The CDC recommends that fruit and vegetables can help manage a person’s weight.

The study was published in the journal Social Indicators Research.

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