Boost your happiness by eating vegetables, research suggests
Feeling stressed, sad or grumpy? Greater happiness, life satisfaction, and positive affect can be found in your Mother’s advice: eat your veggies.
There is growing evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is related to your wellbeing. Happiness, satisfaction with life, and positive affects are not entirely explained by variables such as socio-economic status, race, education, marriage, exercise, smoking, and body mass index (BMI).
Recent experimental and daily food diary research suggests that consuming fruits and vegetables may be a causal factor in promoting positive well-being.
Eating more vegetables and fruits is correlated with increased happiness.
Researchers in the United Kingdom used surveys to measure psychological well-being and other factors that influence human health, such as food and lifestyle. Authors of the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed this research.
80,000 people were assessed. The diet surveys evaluated the frequency in which each person ate veggies and fruit.
The psychological surveys assessed things like life satisfaction, mental well-being, mental disorders, self-reported health, happiness, anxiety, and feeling low. The authors tried to control for variables that play a role in how you feel about life, like income, work status, your health, and other potential stressors.
According to the authors of the report, the more vegetables you eat, the happier and more satisfied you are with your life.
According to the surveys, seven to eight portions of vegetables was more strongly associated with happiness and overall well-being than having a job.
Maybe that’s because whether or not you’re employed, you still need to eat? Just a thought.
Researchers concluded that personal well-being reaches is highest at seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
But those who ate just five servings a day were almost as happy as people who ate higher amounts.
As you may have wondered, it’s not clear whether vegetables make people happy or if happy people are more likely to eat vegetables. Because there are a lot of factors that can influence personal happiness, the authors say their results are “only suggestive” of a link between veggie intake and personal happiness.
Positivity, curiosity, creativity are also correlated with a higher intake of fruit and vegetables.
A 2014 study sampled 405 young adults (mostly female, mean age 19.9 years). For 3 weeks, young adults reported on their consumption of fruit, vegetables, sweets, and chips. They also reported their contentedness, well-being, curiosity, creativity, and positive or negative feelings.
Fruit and vegetables consumption predicted greater feelings of well-being, curiosity, positivity and creativity compared with young adults who ate fewer fruit and vegetables. On days when young adults ate more fruit & veggies, they reported greater well-being, positivity, curiosity, and creativity compared with days when they ate less.
Authors of this study share that this study provides the first evidence that fruit & vegetable consumption may influence well-being in early adulthood.
Many people have a difficult time getting in 5 servings of vegetables per day.
- What is one serving? About 1/2 of a cup of veggies.
- How many vegetables are recommended? The USDA recommends 5 servings per day. But some say that we need between 7-11 servings per day. I personally try to get in up to 10 servings.
Try these yummy recipes to help ensure you get more veggies into your life.
How to eat more veggies and actually like it:
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- Fast, Easy Homemade Tomato Soup (you’ll never want canned tomato soup again!)
- Curried Coconut Ginger Soup
- Massaged Kale Salad
- Lemon-Cumin Brussels Sprouts
- Suggestions for more awesome salads
- Dressing: Tomatillo Cilantro
So now you have more ideas on how to choose happiness. What will you do differently as a result of reading this post? Please let me know by commenting below.