More Fruits and Veggies May Bump Up That Happy Feeling

By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

Have you ever made your own vegetable broth? My boyfriend and I recently saved every vegetable stem and citrus fruit rind that made its way into the kitchen so we could make our very own homemade veggie broth. When we finally had enough tomato tops, mushroom stems, eggplant stems, and lemon peels, we let everything soak in boiling water to make a delicious broth — then we added celery, mushrooms, tomato, and egg to the soup. And with that, we had a delicious, veggie-rich egg-drop soup.

We’ve long known that eating fruits and veggies may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer — but these benefits may take years to become noticeable. So in a longitudinal study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers investigated a benefit that can be seen in a shorter, two-year timespan: happiness.

In the study, researchers looked at data from about 12,000 Australians, ranging in age from 15 to 93. They found that people eating more fruits and veggies were more likely to report being happy.  Subjects who ate the equivalent of eight portions or more of fruits and vegetables per day reported the highest levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Authors suggest that the psychological gain from increasing fruit and vegetable intake from zero to a rate of eight servings or more per day would be analogous to getting a job after being unemployed.

While this change in produce intake is a drastic one, benefits were also seen even when adding just one extra daily portion of fruit or vegetables to the day.

What are your thoughts on this topic? How many servings of fruits and veggies do you eat daily, and what are your favorite ways to eat them? Tell me on Connect @amy.gorin!

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