Moms across the globe have been telling their children to eat their fruits and vegetables for ages. Eating our broccoli, salads and apples, after all, will improve health and keep the doctor at bay. But here’s some food for thought: Did you know that it also can improve your mood and mental well-being?
A recent study by British researchers followed a large group of people for seven years and quizzed them about their mental well-being and eating habits. These scientists had a bit of fun with their paper’s title, which began, “Lettuce be happy.” That’s lettuce, as in the green stuff on a plate.
The study’s results indicated that people reported a higher level of life satisfaction by increasing the number of portions of fruits and vegetables or if they increased the number of days they ate fruits and vegetables.
Even increasing consumption by one portion had a positive effect on life satisfaction, the researchers found. Researchers say that’s the equivalent mood boost of walking an additional 10 minutes or more eight days a month.
The study also found that eating seven to eight portions of fruits and vegetables per day resulted in a 20 percent improvement in positive mood. Researchers said the correlation between positive mood and eating well was surprisingly strong.
The study controlled for things that might tend to improve life satisfaction, such as employment status and income.
Scientists note these results have implications for health care practitioners since findings suggest even a modest change in diet can have an influence on mood.
So, let us be happy. Spend a little more time at the salad bar.