If you need to cheer up someone who is feeling sad or lonely, try offering them a carrot, an apple, or a rutabaga. New research suggests that when a person eats more fruits and vegetables, it makes them happier.
Experts looked at surveys that measured both psychological well-being and other factors that influence health, such as diet. A total of 80,000 people answered the surveys, answering questions about their work-related stress, feelings of nervousness and worry, level of satisfaction with their lives, and ability to deal with problems and life's difficulties. The surveys also asked how often each person ate fruits and vegetables.
Experts found that the people who ate more vegetables are happier and more satisfied with their lives. In one survey, they found that eating seven to eight portions of vegetables made people happier than success with their jobs. The data showed that satisfaction peaks at seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but people who ate just five servings a day – the amount recommended by the USDA – were nearly as happy or nearly as happy as the people who ate seven.
It’s important to note that these findings are only suggestive because many other factors play a role in how happy a person is, including income and overall health. It’s also not clear if the vegetables make people happier or if happier people just eat more vegetables.
The study does find a definite connection between diet and psychological well-being, so it couldn’t hurt to reach for a tomato instead of some chips, particularly because another survey shows that 63 percent of workers in the U.S. say they are unhappy and burned out.
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