New research gives us more reasons to load up on fruits and vegetables—they make you feel calmer, happier and more energetic. To get these results, the study suggests that you would need to consume approximately seven to eight half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
In the study, 281 participants completed a daily food diary for 21 consecutive days. On each day they also logged and rated how they felt using nine positive and nine negative adjectives. Participants also answered specific questions about what they had eaten that day such as the number of servings eaten of fruit (excluding fruit juice and dried fruit), vegetables (excluding juices), and several categories of unhealthy foods like cookies, potato chips, and cakes.
The results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between positive mood and eating higher amounts of fruits and veggies, but not other foods.
To be sure that the association wasn’t working in reverse–feeling positive made you eat healthier foods – the researchers ran additional analyses and found that eating fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, suggesting that healthy foods may improve mood.
Try it Yourself
Want to try this at home? The researchers determined that you would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of fruits and vegetables per day to notice a meaningful positive change. One serving of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size that could fit in your palm, or half a cup. They suggest that this can be done by making half your plate at each meal vegetables and snacking on whole fruit like apples, pears or bananas.
For more tips on maintaining a positive mood, try these articles or posts:
- Mood Food: 8 Foods to Eat When You’re Feeling Down…and 4 to Avoid
- Make the Food-Mood Connection Work for You