The secret to happiness? Eat those good-for-you fruits and veggies. This isn’t just good for your body, but your mental health as well – so says a study published in Social Indicators Research. Researchers have found that eating 7 servings of fruits and veggies a day is associated with better life satisfaction, happiness and mental well-being. You see, eating those fruits and vegetables has many benefits, some only now coming to light.
We know from many studies that eating fruits and veggies have some pretty impressive benefits to your health. Eating this way brings a lower risk of heart disease and cancer as well as help managing your weight and keeping blood pressure under control. Yet there hasn’t been nearly the same amount of research into how fruits and veggies impact psychological health.
The team looked at the diets of 80,000 British men and women. The data came from three projects – the Welsh Health Survey of 2007-10, the Scottish Health Survey of 2008-09 and the Health Survey of England from 2008. The participants answered questions about their intakes of fruits and veggies, as well as their exercise habits, employment status and if they smoked or not. They also supplied data on levels of satisfaction with life, mental well-being, any mental disorders, happiness, anxiety and feeling down.
The researchers didn’t distinguish between fruits and veggies. Incidentally French fries did not count as a vegetable.
The magic number of fruits and veggies linked to highest well being? Seven. The more fruits and veggies the subjects’ ate, the happier they were, with those who reported reaching that 7 serving a day mark being the happiest. The more you increase your servings from none to some, the happier you’ll feel according to Andrew Oswald, Ph.D. who is a professor of economics at the University of Warwick.
The portions used in the survey were almost 3 ounces. A small apple is considered 5 ounces. Less than 1 in 10 Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers of people in real life who get 7 servings of fruits and veggies is very small. The USDA recommends that adult men and women eat at least 2 cups of fruits and 2 to 3 cups of veggies a day, depending on age and sex.
Understand that the study found a link between fruit and veggie intake and happiness, not cause and effect. It might just be that happy people naturally eat more of these types of foods.
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Fruits And Veggies Equal Happiness Continued…
Science has yet to understand how these foods might help in mental well-being. Initially researchers speculated that people might just have more energy from eating this way and perhaps exercise more. But the findings held even when accounting for exercise habits. The researchers are hoping biochemists will take up the question of how fruits and veggies might impact well-being for the better.
Interesting that the study does serve to validate the changes that some dietitians report in those who start eating more fruits and vegetables as a regular part of the diet. Clients tell professionals that they just “feel good” when they start eating more fruits and veggies. Even those who say they don’t like these foods can usually find something they like. Cooking these good for you options in ways that taste good, also helps haters start to warm up to these foods.
Once you start eating this way you’ll notice the difference.
To your good health,