As if you needed one more reason to make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, a new study from the University of Otago in New Zealand found that study participants reported feeling happier when they increased their servings of the good stuff.
Over the course of three weeks, researchers had 281 adults, with an average age of 20 years, keep a food diary. Participants were asked questions about the number of servings of fruits and vegetables (not counting juices) they had versus the amount of chips, cookies and other food categories. The researchers found that those who had several servings of fruits and vegetables in their diets reported feeling “calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did”. More importantly, the number of vegetables eaten the day before positively affected how good participants felt on the following day as well.
Researchers ran additional tests to confirm that feeling happy didn’t make people eat more vegetables. They determined that eating seven to eight servings a day is the amount people need to see an effect on their mood (a serving is roughly the amount of food that will fit in the palm of your hand). How do you eat that many leafy greens? Make sure half of your plate contains vegetables and snack on fruits and veggies between meals.