Eating fruits and veggies on the reg is one of the most commonly heard pieces of healthy eating advice. The benefits for your overall health are unquestionable, since they contain many of the important nutrients you need to stay feeling your best. There are tons of ways to eat them — even if you don’t love salad — but often other foods can be way more tempting. If you’re not consuming as many fruits and veggies as you should (because mmm rainbow pizza), there may be a very compelling reason to start eating more of them ASAP.
According to a soon-to-be-published study in the American Journal of Public Health, eating more fruits and veggies can actually make you happier. Yes — you read that right. In fact, the study found that with each additional serving per day (up to eight servings), people incrementally experienced more happiness. While the study was done with the intent of delving deeper into the well-established benefits of eating more fruit and veggies, like helping to decrease the risk of cancer and heart attacks (which is good enough reason on its own to eat them, obvi), the researchers also discovered the happiness connection over the course of their work.
The cancer and heart attack preventative benefits of these foods accrue over very long periods of time (we’re talking in decades), which makes staying committed to eating them for that reason only pretty hard, since you’re not seeing the results right away. Luckily for everyone involved, study co-author Andrew Oswald notes that “well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate.” The psychological improvements that subjects experienced were increased happiness, life satisfaction and well-being. They were available over a period of time as short as two years, and the difference in level of happiness over time was the equivalent of going from being unemployed to employed. That’s a pretty significant difference, if you ask us.
If you’ve been considering upping your fruit and vegetable intake but haven’t gotten that serious about it because life and ice cream for dinner happen, this study gives you an awesome reason to make a commitment. In the short term, you’re likely to feel happier and more satisfied with your life, and in the long term, you’re working toward preventing serious health issues. Adding some veggies to your morning omelette, having a salad for lunch and a healthy portion of veggies at dinner (with some fun snacks in between!) sounds easy enough when you know all the amazing things that can happen when you start doing it.
How many fruits and veggies do you eat on the reg? Show us your healthy meals @BritandCo!
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