Everyone knows an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but scientists are now claiming that a couple apples a day might keep you smiling all day. It comes as no surprise that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables promotes a healthy body, but a recent study from the University of Warwick, England and the University of Queensland, Australia finds that eating fruits and vegetables also contributes to one’s personal happiness.
This is the first study of its kind to look at the short-term psychological effects of food rather than its long-term physical effects.The study looked at 12,000 patients through the examination of their thorough food diaries, which also documented their mental wellness, during 2007, 2009, and 2013.
The diaries revealed that for each added serving of fruits and vegetables—up to 8 portions per day—the subject’s mood was boosted. The improvement in happiness in some cases was equivalent to that of an individual who has gone from unemployment to employment.
According the Science Daily, Professor Andrew Oswald, one of the lead researchers, 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."
Researchers are hopeful that the outcomes of this study will be more effective in persuading individuals to consume healthier diets because there is a potentially immediate, psychological payoff. Scientists believe that there is further research surrounding these findings that needs to be done in order to better understand how fruits and vegetables improve one’s mood.
Some researchers suspect that the antioxidants in produce could be linked towards psychological health. Regardless, this new research is just the incentive we all need to push ourselves to eat more fruits and vegetables, especially this time of year when the pickings are so delicious.