Happy Meals

Tara Ali
October 4, 2016

After a sucky day most of us find solace in a food pick-me-up that involves a jar of peanut butter or Cadburys or a give-me-all-the-cheeses pizza. Or possibly all three. But according to new research, we should be heading in the produce aisle to boost our mood instead.

Yep, scientists at the University of Warwick tracked the food diaries of more than 12,000 randomly selected people and found that happiness increased incrementally for each extra daily portion of fruits and vegetables people ate, up to eight portions per day.

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Happy Talk

Your mum was always banging on about the the health benefits of scarfing juicy fruits and piling your plate with colourful vegetables, and science has her back – you’ll be at lower risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Plus, as a bonus you’ll have have reduced blood cholesterol and pressure, your immune system will be better able to fight infections. But this is the first time that the men in lab coats have linked fresh produce with psychological benefits. 

And the best news? The effects on your mind work faster than the health benefits to your body. “People's motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical-health benefits…accrue decades later. However, wellbeing improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate,” said Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick. 

More research needs to be conducted to figure out exactly why people felt so much better after eating more fruits and vegetables, but the academics think it could be the antioxidants, which suggests a connection between optimism and carotenoid in the blood.

 

Struggle to eat two a day, let alone five?

Here are some easy ways to get more fresh stuff in your diet.

1. Pancakes. Everyone loves pancakes, right? Grate apple, pear or mash banana into the batter mixture before frying for a sweet, fibre-rich twist.

2. Let’s talk about kale. You know it’s good for you (plus Beyonce said so), but it’s a tough customer to use. Literally. Think of it like spinach, chop it finely and chuck it in a fry pan with some butter and it will wilt it right down. Add to stir fries, pasta and omelettes.

3. Green smoothies. The best way to make sure you’re getting your antioxidant fix. Use up any fruits in your fruit bowl, and add some greens plus a scoop of yoghurt and some chia seeds.

4. Fruit or vegies on toast are a cinch. Try avocado and tomato with feta. Banana and peanut butter. Banana with cinnamon. Red grapes and brie. Arrange the chopped food into a smiley face while you’re there for bonus jolly points!

 

Inner health, outer glow #Swissebodybeautiful

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