Fruits and Vegetables Increase Your Happiness
Most people aren’t a fan of vegetables. Of all the delectable things to eat, vegetables rate pretty low on the list. Fruits are usually easier to eat, but we usually don’t eat many of them either.
Let’s face it, most of us aren’t exactly the healthiest of eaters. Eating food that is either sweet or savory is too convenient and cheap to buy, order, or have prepared for us.
We understand that there are numerous health benefits to eating fruits and vegetables. And we’ve been told since we were young to eat them. Despite this, though, as adults we simply just don’t want to.
I’m not here to rain on your food parade. But I do want to tell you that eating fruits and vegetables can bring you more than just a healthy heart. New research shows that there’s psychological benefits as well.
In fact, a new study shows that vegetables can increase your happiness.
The Power of Fruits and Vegetables
The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are well documented. They can reduce the risk of cancer and heart attacks just for starters.
Some studies have even shown that they can reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. But when you hear that it can boost your happiness, I can understand it may sound a little too hippie.
However, psychologists wanted to explore how these foods might affect our mental well-being. And the results of the study – published in the American Journal of Public Health – found that consuming fruits and vegetables can have a real life effect on your life satisfaction.
The scientists state the boost in happiness is the equivalent of comparing a person who is employed to someone who doesn’t have a job.
Additionally, they found that the data they collected showed incremental increases in happiness for each portion consumed. Up to 8 servings a day.
The researchers arrived at this conclusion after following over 12,000 Australian adults who kept a diary of their eating habits over the course of several years.
Shot of Happiness
Another interesting observation was made was about how fast a change in diet could raise levels of happiness. The effects were much more immediate relative to their health benefits, which usually can’t be seen for years or decades.
They believe this can serve as a better motivating factor to include these things in a person’s diet. One of the scientists – Andrew Oswald – states:
“People’s motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical-health benefits, such as protecting against cancer, accrue decades later.
However, well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate.”
The Cause of Happiness
The scientists adjusted for other factors that might affect levels of happiness. These included changes in income as well as other personal situations.
So what drives the increase in happiness?
The scientists think that it could be the work of antioxidants. In particular they believe the fruits and vegetables contribute a higher level of carotenoids in the bloodstream, which have been linked to increased in optimism in other research.
However, this is mostly speculation. It could very well be that levels of increased happiness might increase one’s diet of fruits and vegetables. Something the study couldn’t prove or disprove.
But it also might be a two way street. Happiness might lead to a better diet of fruits and vegetables, and fruits and vegetables might also lead to more happiness. It may be a virtuous cycle, who knows.
We’ll have to wait for additional research to tackle the cause and effect issue, but it’s not the only study out there to link these foods to happiness. Other research has found an association with fruits and veggies to increased flourishing and happiness as well.
I’ll leave you with this. Consider a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that only 13 percent of Americans eat enough fruit. And only 9 percent eat the recommended amount of vegetables.
It seems we have a lot of room for improvement. For not only our health, but possibly our happiness.