Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Fruits and Vegetables May Be the Key to Happiness?

TheBUZZ : Fruits and vegetables may be the key to happiness.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Eating 5 to 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is linked to happiness and mental well-being.

WHAT WE KNOW

There is an abundance of research on the association between physical health and diet. Specifically, research has shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of certain chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease. Fruits and vegetables also help to maintain a healthy weight because they are low in calories and full of fiber, which helps keep you satisfied. Until recently, there was very little research on the correlation between diet and mental health. Researchers from Dartmouth University and the University of Warwick have been able to show that a relationship does exist between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health.

This study consisted of 80,000 randomly selected individuals. They were surveyed on the number of servings of fruits and vegetables they consumed per day and their satisfaction with life. In the study, a serving of fruits and vegetables consisted of 80 grams or 2.8 ounces. The researchers concluded that there is an association between mental well-being and fruit and vegetable consumption. Happiness and mental health increased as the number of daily fruits and vegetable servings increased. This increase in happiness plateaued at 7 servings per day.* Further research is needed to determine reason(s) for this finding.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, paired with physical activity, will boost your overall well-being. The health benefits of both physical activity and diet continue to grow. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic disease, for example. Who knew that fruits and vegetables could also make us happy? This is yet another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables.

OUR ADVICE

An easy way to ensure your family is getting enough is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. There are many ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Add sliced fruit to your cereal at breakfast, pack an apple with lunch, but nix the deep-fried french fries at dinner. Try our spicy steak fries instead!

Get going! Instantly boost your mood with physical activity. Gather your family for an evening walk after dinner or play a game of tag in the back yard. You could also call a friend and ask her or him to join you for daily walks or jogs. Having a buddy is not only safer, but will also increase the likelihood that you will stick to your workout routine.

 

* Blanchflower, David G., Andrew J. Oswald, and Sarah Stewart-Brown. “Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?” SpringerLink. Springer Science Business Media, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. http://www.springerlink.com/content/n168016385012600/fulltext.html.

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