The Scientific Secret to Happiness: More Fresh Fruits and Veggies

March 13th, 2017


March is National Nutrition Month. So each week this month, we’re highlighting how certain foods can help improve specific health conditions. This is the second article in the series. Please share with friends and family who may be interested.

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It’s long been known that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is good for your physical health. Lower blood pressure and less risk of heart disease are among the many benefits. But did you know fruits and veggies can also be good for your mental health? Absolutely true. According to a recent study, higher consumption of fruit and vegetables may increase feelings of well-being, happiness and life satisfaction. In addition, the study participants who ate more fruits and vegetables tended to be more curious and more creative than those who didn’t.

“There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that dietary patterns emphasizing fruits and vegetables may be linked to better psychological health.[i] A recent study found that higher fruit and vegetable consumption may increase well-being, curiosity and creativity, possibly related to micronutrients and carbohydrate composition.[ii] This is probably related to the fact you are giving your body and brain more healthy vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber,” said Rebecca Ramsing, sr. program officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

This conclusion is supported by a separate study that found growing evidence that suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to better psychological health. So which foods help you feel happier, more creative and brimming with curiosity? Well, for starters, try roasted carrots and other root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams and squash. Also, fresh berries are highly recommended to lift your spirits – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, take your pick! And to jump-start your good mood, we’ve got a special recipe that’s sure to make you smile.

Root Vegetable Samosas

Root Vegetable Samosa with Pear Cranberry Sauce

 


References:

[i]Rooney C, McKinley MC, Woodside JV. The potential role of fruit and vegetables in aspects of psychological well-being: A review of the literature and future directions. TheProceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2013; 72: 420–432. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003388

[ii] Conner TS, Brookie KL, Richardson AC, Polak MA. On carrots and curiosity: eating fruits and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in daily life. Br J Health Psychol. 2015; 20(2):413-27.