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Is food an attitude adjuster? A study by British and American researchers found that people who ate more than two servings of fruits and vegetables daily reported higher levels of happiness than those who ate less. Another glad tiding: the more produce you eat, the more your mood can improve. People who ate seven to eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day were the happiest of all. While the scientists caution these findings may not demonstrate cause-and-effect link, they say more research into how produce benefits the brain could prove fruitful. For a berry fix in winter, head for the frozen-food aisle: even when stored for up to four months, frozen berries have almost as much antioxidants as fresh ones do, according to a Romanian study.
Quick Bite: lemon-berry parfait
For a fast, fruit-filled breakfast or dessert, warm 1 cup of frozen berries in a saucepan or microwave. Top with ½ cup granola, ½ cup low-fat vanilla yoghurt and some grated lemon zest.
Set up your own nutritional power plant this winter. Scientists from the University of Maryland and the USDA found that most microgreens (immature leaves of plants) contain a higher concentration of vitamins and disease-fighting antioxidants than their mature counterparts. They’re hard to find, but they are available at Woolworths. Red cabbage and coriander all had some of the highest levels of antioxidants among the plants studied. Mix microgreens into your salads, or use them as a sandwich ingredient.
Crunch certain vegetables to crush your cancer risk. An Italian study found that eating cruciferous vegetables at least once a week may decrease your risk of oral oesophageal, colorectal and kidney cancers compared with eating them occasionally or not at all. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach) contain compounds called glucosinolates that can help block tumour growth. Eat at least ¾ cup of these vegetables a week to reap the benefits, say the researchers.
ON Our radar
Beer for Brawn
Drink a lager, save your biceps? Japanese scientists found that when inactive mice consumed 8-PN, a flavonoid found in beer, they retained more muscle mass than those who hadn’t. The drawback? You’d have to drink at least 384 beers a day to ingest similar amounts of 8-PN. More research will test if an 8-PN concentrate has a similar effect in humans. Until then, build muscle at the gym, not the bar.
The number, in millions, of South Africans who drink instant coffee daily.