Eating more fruit and vegetables will boost your happiness: Study
According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Warwick in England and the University of Queensland in Australia, eating vegetables and fruits can benefit one’s psychological well-being later on. The researchers examined food diaries from 12,385 randomly selected participants in Australia. This data was compared to the participants’ psychological wellbeing. All data came from longitudinal studies of Australian adults in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
To be published shortly in the American Journal of Public Health, the study is one of the first major scientific attempts to explore psychological well-being beyond the traditional finding that fruit and vegetables can reduce risk of cancer and heart attacks. Happiness benefits were detected for each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables up to eight portions per day.
The researchers concluded that people who changed from almost no fruit and vegetable to eight portions of fruit and vegetable a day would experience an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment. The well-being improvements occurred within 24 months.
Professor Andrew Oswald said: “Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health. 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.”
Dr Redzo Mujcic, research fellow at the University of Queensland, said: “Perhaps our results will be more effective than traditional messages in convincing people to have a healthy diet. There is a psychological payoff now from fruit and vegetables -- not just a lower health risk decades later.”
The authors found that alterations in fruit and vegetable intake were predictive of later alterations in happiness and satisfaction with life. They took into account many other influences, including changes in people’s incomes and life circumstances.