It appears that if you want to feel calm, happy and healthy tomorrow, you should be eating more fruits and vegetables today, according to a new study. Many researchers have suspected that our diet has a strong influence on our health, both physically and mentally, but this is the clearest evidence that emotional wellbeing is also linked to a healthy diet.
Study Links Emotional Wellbeing with a Healthy Diet:
Psychology researchers Tamlin Conner and Bonnie White from the University of Otago, New Zealand investigated the relationship between what we eat and how it affects our emotional wellbeing. They recruited 281 young adults who suffered from eating disorders and asked them to keep a detailed food diary for the period of the study. The study participants recorded what they ate each day, specifically focusing on servings of fruit, vegetables and unhealthy snacks such as cookies, potato chips and cakes. They also recorded how they felt each day, using nine specific positive or negative adjectives to standardize their responses.
The results showed a clear relationship between what the participants ate and how they felt emotionally. In particular, the participants felt calmer and happier after eating more fruits and vegetables and they had more energy. The relationship between diet and emotional wellbeing was so close that the study could accurately predict how people would feel the following day, based on what they had eaten the previous day. A higher intake of healthy fruit and vegetables led to a positive mood, but this did not relate to other food groups.
A larger study of almost 14,000 people aged 16 and older was assessed by researchers at the University of Warwick and the results were published in the British Medical Journal Open. This study also found that eating more fruits and vegetables was closely associated with higher scores on mental wellbeing assessments. In fact, the top 33% of those participants who had high mental and emotional wellbeing ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day. This compared to 28% of those who had low mental wellbeing and ate just one or two servings.
The findings emphasize the fact that eating more fruit and vegetables is essential for both mental and physical wellbeing in people of all ages. Why not give your mental health a boost by committing to eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every single day and see how good you feel? Keep a food diary to help you track your progress.