Better Emotional Health with Higher Fruits and Veggies Consumption
Researchers believe that there is a positive relationship between the consumption of fruits and veggies and emotional health. An article in the British Journal of Health Psychology mentions that eating seven apples, oranges or a few servings of broccoli each day can help keep the blues away.
How Much Fruits and Veggies to Eat to Have a Better Mood?
The study was conducted in New Zealand’s University of Otago, involving 281 young adults. The participants were given 7 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day and the researchers found a strong link between high fruit and vegetable consumption to their positive mood. The researchers further tested the participants and found that their positive mood followed the day after they had a high intake of fruits and vegetables. This shows that taking fruits and vegetables may be a key to improving the emotional health of individuals.
For the purpose of this study, the participants were given either one serving or a half cup of cooked vegetables or one serving or one full cup of uncooked vegetables. Dried fruits and fruit and veggie juices were not included in the total calorie count.
There was another prior study that investigated the effect of increasing fruit and veggie intake from 5 to 7 servings a day on the happy feeling and better mental health of people. A group of British researchers did a survey of the dietary habits of 80,000 people and found that the participants seem to be most happy during days when they had at the least 7 servings of fruits and veggies.
Tips to Increase Fruits and Vegetables Consumption
The daily servings of fruits and veggies recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is at least 5. Unfortunately, only 14 percent of the adult American population eats enough fruits and veggies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
One good tip for helping an individual to eat enough fruits and veggies a day is to have at least one serving in every meal. It would be good to fill half of the plate with fruits and veggies with varying types and colors. Below is a sample menu for one-day with about 8 servings of fruits and vegetables. This sample menu by Maureen Namkong, Everyday Health’s nutritionist, totals 1,459 calories with 1,700 mg of sodium.
- For breakfast: 2 egg omelet plus 1/4 cup of asparagus and 1/4 cup mushrooms; 2 slices of whole wheat bread with 1 tablespoon goat cheese or vegetable oil spread; 1 medium orange
- For lunch: Salad made of 2 cups dark lettuce or baby spinach, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup corn niblets, 2 tablespoos fresh salsa and 1/4 avocado.
- For snack: 1 medium apple, 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 6 oz non-fat Greek yogurt
- For dinner: 4-oz skinless chicken breast stir-fry with 1 tablespoon less sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup red bell peppers, 1/2 cup broccoli florets, 1/2 cup sliced carrots, 1/2 cup snow peas, 1 tsp ground red pepper, 1/4 cup mung bean sprouts, and 1 cup brown rice.
Photo credits: Liz West via Flickr, CC by 2.0