An astonishing study has found a simple secret to happiness. And it’s as easy as reaching for the vegetable drawer in your refrigerator.
Scientists from the University of Warwick in England and the University of Queensland in Australia led the research. They wanted to determine the psychological effects of eating more fruits and vegetables.1
Many studies have already found that a diet heavy in these two food groups reduce the risk of cancer, heart attacks, and other health woes.
But these researchers wanted to find out if there were emotional benefits. The study followed almost 6,000 people for two years.
Researchers Discover Nature’s Antidepressants
How powerful was the fruit and veggie “happiness effect”? Pretty spectacular.
People who changed their diet from eating almost no vegetables and fruits to eating eight servings a day scored a huge increase in wellbeing. And it began quickly. The mood of the participants began lifting almost right after they began eating fruits and vegetables.2
Researchers found the effect was so great that it was enough to overcome the deep feelings of depression that typically come from a marriage break up.
Participants were also less likely to experience anxiety or depression during the 24-month study.
Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England was one of the lead authors. He notes that the physical health benefits of fruits and vegetables have long been touted. But the mental benefits are actually greater and more immediate.
Eating fruits and vegetables “boost our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health,” said Professor Oswald.
Official U.S government dietary guidelines tell us to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.3 But this study shows it’s better to increase that amount to eight servings. Not only will you enjoy better health down the road, but better mental wellbeing now.
The researchers do not know exactly why fruits and vegetables have such a large antidepressant effect. But a previous study found a connection between carotenoids and happiness.
Carotenoids are a type of antioxidant. They are the compounds that give produce their color. That means deeply colored fruits and vegetables may be the ones with the most benefits for mood.4
Top 5 Fruits and Vegetables for a Better Mood
Here are five fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids:5
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards)
If you battle depression or moodiness, try nature’s antidepressants. The only side effects are better health. Colorful fruits and vegetables are good for body… And mind.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch