If you want to feel happier and more energetic tomorrow, eat more fruits and vegetables today. That’s the surprising take-away from a recent study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology.
Researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand instructed 281 young people to keep food diaries and fill out questionnaires about their emotions daily for three weeks. The participants specifically tracked how many fruits, vegetables, and snack foods such as cookies, potato chips, cake, and muffins they ate. The results showed that positive mood and energy levels were highly correlated with fruit and vegetable consumption. In other words, fruits and vegetables make us feel good. In fact, no other foods boosted mood or energy as effectively.
If you’re like me, you may crave foods such as sweets or pasta when you’re feeling down. Yet this study shows that everything we think about “comfort foods” is wrong. While that doughnut might provide a temporary spike in your well-being, lasting effects only come from fruits and vegetables.
But is it possible that people who have a sunnier outlook are more prone to take care of themselves and eat healthy foods? Which came first: the behavior or the mood? The researchers think the fruits and vegetables caused the mood improvement, because they noted that high produce intake on one day was directly linked to improved mood on that day, as well as the next.
“On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Tamlin Connor noted, “they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did.”
Sounds good, but how much produce do you need to eat to feel an effect? A lot. 7-8 servings a day, to be precise, which is far more than most people typically consume.
Juice Plus+ has always advocated eating as many servings of fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, but sometimes hitting those goals can be quite a feat. As a health writer, I’m highly motivated to eat nutritious foods, yet even I don’t meet those recommendations every day. If the same is true for you, Juice Plus+ can help bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day. It might even help you feel happier and more energetic too!