A couple more servings of fruits and vegetables per day is enough to lift your mood in only 2 weeks, new research finds.
The young adults in the study who ate two extra portions of fruit and veg for 2 weeks saw increases in both motivation and vitality.
It also made them want to carry on eating more fruit and veg.
Dr Tamlin Conner, the study’s first author, said:
“The message from this study is we should be giving people more fruits and vegetables to eat, not simply reminding people to eat their 5+ a day.
People in dormitories, children in daycare centres, patients in hospitals, employees in the workplace, could be provided with fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.”
For the research, 171 young adults were split into three groups.
They either ate as normal, were given vouchers to buy fruit and veg, or were actually handed the fruit and veg directly.
Only those given the fruit and veg directly saw the improvements.
Those given vouchers for fruit and veg tended to cook them with other foods, while those given them directly tended to eat them raw.
Perhaps, eating the fruit and veg raw is vital to the wellbeing boost.
This is far from the first evidence that fruit and veg can make you feel better.
The study’s authors write:
“There is also growing evidence that people who eat more FV have better mental health.
Higher consumption of FV is correlated with several psychological outcomes including a lower incidence of depression and anxiety, greater happiness, higher life satisfaction, and greater social-emotional well-being or “flourishing”.”
The study’s authors conclude:
“We conclude that providing young adults with high-quality FV [fruits and veg], rather than reminding them to eat more FV (with a voucher to purchase FV), resulted in significant short-term improvements to their psychological well-being.
These results provide initial proof-of-concept that giving young adults fresh fruit and vegetables to eat can have psychological benefits even over a brief period of time.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal PLoS One (Conner et al., 2017).