The general consensus from UK government health experts is that if you eat your five a day it will keep you healthy and ward of cancer and heart disease. But academics from the University of Warwick suggest that if you up your game plan and increase the number of fruit and veg you eat up to eight a day it will bring you greater happiness too.
Most research regarding fruit and vegetables has been in relation to how it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. However now Warwick University in the UK in collaboration with the University of Queensland in Australia have carried out a study to explore the psychological benefits of eating fruit and vegetables and have had surprising results.
More than 12,000 people were randomly selected for the study and followed for 2 years. The participants kept food diaries and were measured to identify their level of psychological well-being.
The authors discovered significantly positive psychological benefits. What they found was that levels of happiness increased with each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables up to 8 a day. Life satisfaction and well-being improvements were seen within 24 months.
What was also apparent from this study was that happiness levels increase considerably before health benefits are seen. It can take years to gain the health benefits from eating a healthy diet whereas well-being improvements from eating extra fruit and vegetables are almost immediate.