How do you feel after eating a sun-warmed peach plucked ripe from a tree? What is your mental state like when you dig into the season’s first asparagus, grilled and drizzled with olive oil?
We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables can bring us more physical health. Those who eat more fruits and vegetables have reduced rates of heart disease, as well as lower BMIs. And each daily serving you eat can help prevent an early death.
What is less well-known is that eating fruits and vegetables can actually make you happier.
A study titled “Evolution of Well-Being and Happiness After Increases in Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables,” recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at the food journals of more than 12,000 Australians. Researchers searched for indicators of well-being, like happiness and life satisfaction. As it turns out, the more fruits and veggies a person ate, the happier and more satisfied with life they were.
Is this because feeling healthier helps people feel better? Or because doing “the right thing” reduces anxiety and helps with well-being? Or is it just because fruits and vegetables taste great, and eating them in season and well-prepared just tickles our pleasure centers?
The AJPH researchers didn’t look for reasons, just associations. But it’s probably a great idea to do your own research—eat an extra piece of fruit or serving of vegetables today and try to find out why it makes you feel so good.