Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Affect Your Psychological Well-Being?

And L.A. has a low position in the happiness rankings by cities in the U.S.

Vegetables and fruits are known to have many health benefits, they can prevent cardiovascular diseases, lower blood pressure and are a great substitute for sugar cravings. Surprisingly, the benefits not only affect our physical but also our mental health. The two scientists Redzo Mujcic and Andrew J.Oswald., conducted a recent study in Australia, in which they found that the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables in ones diet affect their well-being and happiness.

Although previous studies have researched different reasons behind happiness and well-being, no one has truly looked into the food we consume, rather they have focused on economic, personal and political impact. Over 24 months of examination of randomly sampled Australian adults the scientists noticed the increase of happiness. This can be measured by the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) — a measure of life satisfaction developed by Ed Diener and colleagues. The measure is cognitively driven and is one factor out of three that constructs human well-being.

The research was performed by simple questions, All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life? And How much of the time in the past 4 weeks have you been a happy person?

FIGURE 1 — Longitudinal Changes in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Longitudinal Changes in Satisfaction With Life in Australian Individuals (n = 12 385): Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, 2007 and 2009 Note. Fixed-effects regression equation with 9 banded dummy variables for each level of fruit and vegetable (F&V Portions) daily consumption. Horizontal axis: 0 = < 1 portion of fruit and vegetables per day; 1 = > 1 portion but < 2 portions per day; and 8 = 8 or more portions a day.

The results showed that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to eight portions a day equaled up to 0.24 life-satisfaction points, which can be compared with a mental gain from unemployment to employment. The scientists findings support the idea that people often are not motivated to eat healthy since the improvement in health does not show until decades later, but eating vegetables and fruit benefits are closer to immediate.

Dietary Intakes Compared to Recommendations. Percent of the U.S. Population Ages 1 Year and Older Who Are Below, At, or Above Each Dietary Goal or Limit. Graph credit: health.gov

The Happiness Report discovered that the U.S. ranks fifteenth spot in the world by country. The results have not been linked to diet, but the average american diet could suggest the low ranking on the world Happiness Report. This can be connected with findings that show 70 to 90 percent of people in the U.S. eating less fruits and vegetables than recommended. Rather the average diet consists higher intake of sodium, saturated fats and added sugars.

Even though the stereotypical view of Los Angeles would support that Angelenos on average eat healthy, since a high of 90 percent of people have an easy access to vegetables and fruits as the findings by Public Health Department of Los Angeles County state. But in Los Angeles when it comes to life satisfaction we cannot only rely on the sunny blue skies, a few servings of vegetables and fruits can be vital to our overall well-being and happiness. After all, Los Angeles ranks a low of 53 on the happiness ranking by cities in the U.S.

Like what you read? Give Iiris Haggi a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.