Every so often (actually quite often), we come across studies that don’t deliver lifesaving news but nevertheless provide insights that may motivate people to change some behaviors or thought patterns in positive ways. Here’s one:
Eating more fruits and vegetables may make you happier, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, which included more than 12,000 Australians of all ages. Life satisfaction and happiness increased incrementally with each daily serving of produce, with the greatest jump (from less than one portion a day to more than eight) equivalent to the gain in mental well-being that comes from moving from unemployed to employed status.
The researchers adjusted for variables that could skew the results—such as changes in income, health, marital status, and other life circumstances—concluding that the relationship found between produce and happiness was not spurious. Rather, “These findings are consistent with the idea that eating certain foods is a form of investment in future happiness and well-being,” with the psychological benefits occurring much more quickly than the physical health benefits.
Though it’s not clear why, some “intriguing possibilities” are that fruits and vegetables increase serotonin levels and change brain chemistry through their effects on the microbes in the intestines.
Also see Why Eating Your Veggies Is Not Enough.