It’s no secret that fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. It’s recommended that adults get at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day.
Despite these recommendations, it’s thought that only around 6% of Australians eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day and only half eat the recommended amount of fruit.
One of the reasons thought to in uence this inadequate intake is the perception that the bene ts associated with fruits and vegetables take a long time to be realised: health advantages, such as reducing risk of cancer, are not immediate enough to kick people into action.
Public health practitioners have looked into other effects associated with fruit and vegetable consumption that may have more immediate effects. One area that researchers have investigated is their link to psychological health. Previous research has found some associations between fruit and vegetable consumption and improved psychological health but to-date evidence is limited.
Researchers investigated this potential association further in a study involving over 12,000 Australians. Their diet was recorded in addition to their general health, as well as happiness, life satisfaction and well-being measures over a three year period. After taking into account people’s incomes and personal circumstances, the results showed a positive association between fruit and vegetables intake and happiness, life satisfaction and well-being. For every extra daily serve of fruit and vegetables consumed, each of the three measures increased. Improvements were seen within 24 months and also after increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables eaten.
Further research is needed to tease out the association between fruit and vegetables and improved mental wellbeing. If corroborated, this association could be a powerful motivator to get the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet each day, with bene ts potentially being more immediate. Possible reasons for this association, as outlined by the researchers, include bene ts associated with antioxidants in fruits and vegetables and the role of bre in supporting good bacteria health. Yet another reason to eat your fruits and vegetables.
Reference: Mujicic, R. et al. Evolution of well-being and happiness increases after consumption of fruit and vegetables. American Journal of Public Health 2016; 106(8): 1504 – 10.