Can cherries make you cheery? Will green beans make you beam? (I could go on all day…)
Forget five a day – new research suggests that higher intake of fruits and veggies may actually be associated with happiness and mental health.
In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Warwick, the self-reported eating habits and mental health of 80,000 British men and women were examined.
What they found was a correlation between fruit and veggie consumption and happiness. As consumption rose (up to seven portions per day), so did mental well-being.
The problem? Most of us have trouble meeting the recommended servings of fruits and veggies per day – a number which, in the U.S., currently stands at five.
What’s a serving? The researchers defined a serving as 80 grams, or 1.2 ounces. What does that equate to in real-life situations? One serving equals…a full cup of spinach, a small-sized apple, 1/2 cup of berries or 2 small bell peppers.
Which foods are better? Although the study didn’t distinguish between different fruits and vegetables, they all offer benefits to health. Richly colored foods, however, are said to contain higher levels of antioxidants. Reach for deep reds, dark greens and vibrant hues of blue, purple and orange.
Tips to up your intake:
- Picky kids? Try hiding fruits & veggies in your meals.
- Add dried fruit to your cereal or trail mix.
- Drink your nutrients – start juicing!