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We all know that eating fruits and vegetables can make us a lot healthier, but what about happier?
According to the study, people that changed from eating almost no fruit and veg to having eight portions of fruit and veg a day had a life satisfaction increase equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment.
The study was posted online in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from Warwick University in England joined scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia to better understand the psychological effects of eating more fruits and vegetables.
The international team followed the food and mood diaries of more than 12,000 randomly selected individuals who had taken part in the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey in 2007, 2009, and 2013.
The researchers aren’t quite sure why eating more fruits and vegetables makes people happier, but they suggest it could be related to the antioxidants found in more healthful foods.
Also see our guide to best fruits and veggies on the market in our Powerhouse Guide To Fruits And Vegetables
Research on these antioxidants have been shown to be linked with carotenoids.
Carotenoids are the pigments that give certain fruits and vegetables their colour, and can be found in carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potato, and kale.
In this new study, the volunteers’ diet and mood were tracked over a period of time. Not only was the increase in happiness noticeable, it was also swift. For example, while it could take decades of healthy eating for dieters to reap certain physical effects, such as preventing cancer, the psychological effects were noted only two years after individuals had increased their fruit and vegetable consumption. The researchers believe that these quick results could be enough to help further urge the public to adopt a healthier diet.
“Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health,” study co-author Dr. Andrew Oswald said in a recent statement.
“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.”