Foods That May Promote Greater Happiness
Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?
By Shayli Lones July 15, 2014 3,514 3 1
We need food to survive, and what we eat impacts not only our health but also our well-being. Until now, little has been known about the potential influence different foods have on happiness and psychological health.
“Economists and public health researchers from the University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain. They found mental well-being appeared to rise with the number of daily portions of fruits and vegetables people consumed. Well-being peaked at seven portions a day,” says a press release from the University of Warwick.
Most western doctors recommend 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. “In Britain today, a quarter of the population eats just one portion or no portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Only a tenth of the British population currently consume the magic number of seven or more daily portions. The study does not distinguish among different kinds of fruits and vegetables and it defines a portion as approximately 80 grams,” says the University of Warrick.
In the study, the researchers explain that, “People who are healthy in one kind of behavior are likely to be healthy in others.” They found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables showed higher mental well-being in a variety of ways compared to those who did not.
“In each of three data sets, and for seven different measures of mental well-being, we find evidence for the existence of a positive association between well-being and fruit-and-vegetable consumption,” says the study. “Our findings are consistent with the need for high levels of fruit-and-vegetable consumption for mental health and not merely for physical health.”
Study co-author Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, Professor of Public Health at Warwick Medical School, says, “The statistical power of fruit and vegetables was a surprise. Diet has traditionally been ignored by well-being researchers.” There is still much to be learned about how diet affects our metal well-being, and scientists hope for more research in the future.
Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables?
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports, “Adults in the United States consume fruit about 1.1 times per day and vegetables about 1.6 times per day.” Here are some easy ways to start adding more fruits and vegetables to you diet.
- Smoothies are a great source of fruit and you can also add spinach or kale with almost no effect on taste.
- Salads are a great way to add vegetables and fruits to every meal. Try starting off lunch and dinner with a small salad loaded with seasonal produce like blueberries, zucchini, avocados or garden tomatoes.
- Fill half your plate with vegetables and eat them first. Pair a grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli, carrots or asparagus.