In Brief: Eat Healthy; Feel Happy
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day not only protects against cancer, but it also may make you happier and more energetic for the day ahead, suggests a recent study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology.
The study included 281 college students. Every day, participants completed an online survey to say how many servings they had eaten of different food groups during the previous evening and that day. They also rated how they were feeling that day, ranging from anxious and angry to cheerful and energetic.
At the end of three weeks, the study found that the days when people ate more fruits and vegetables were when they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic compared to the days they ate fewer fruits and vegetables. They also reported feeling more positive the next day. Yet feeling positive on one day did not predict how much fruit and vegetable the individual would eat the next day, suggesting that it was the food driving their mood.
In analysis, the researchers concluded that for each one additional serving of fruits or vegetables above the usual, there was a fractionable increase in positive mood. Participants in this study ate about 2 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The researchers estimated that the young adults would need to consume about seven to eight daily servings in total – about five to six more servings – to notice a meaningful change in their positive mood.
Source: Bonnie A. White, Caroline C. Horwath, and Tamlin S. Conner. “Many apples a day keep the blues away – Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults.” British Journal of Health Psychology (2013) Article first published online: 24 Jan, 2013.