The happiest people eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to a new study to be published in the journal Social Indicators Research.
Researchers from the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College analyzed the health habits of 80,000 people in England. In addition to their diets, participants reported their exercise habits, employment and whether or not they smoked, as well as psychological health indicators — such as life satisfaction, mental well-being, if they had any mental disorders, happiness, nervousness and feeling low.
Even when all of these aspects of their lifestyle were factored into the equation, one link still remained: The more fruits and vegetables people ate, the happier they were. Specifically, those who ate seven portions of fruits and vegetables daily were the happiest.
The study measured one portion as about 80 grams, or 2.8 ounces. To give you some perspective, a small apple is about 5 ounces.
The general rule of thumb has always been five servings of fruits and veggies a day to promote cardiovascular health and to reduce the risk of cancer. While this may still be true, it couldn’t hurt to try eating even more produce in order to increase your happiness level.
On the other hand, more research needs to be conducted to find an explanation for the association. For all we know, happy people might just enjoy eating more fruits and vegetables.