The fastest route to happiness may be through the veggie patch, with a study indicating that consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables can substantially increase consumers’ happiness levels.
The study, conducted by the University of Warwick in England in collaboration with the University of Queensland, followed more than 12,000 randomly selected participants by examining their food diaries and measuring their psychological well-being.
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The researchers concluded that by increasing their daily fruit and vegetable consumption from almost nothing to eight portions a day, consumers could experience a tangible increase in their general happiness.
“This research has found that happiness increases incrementally for every extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables, up to a total of eight portions per day,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.
“With these improvements in well-being occurring within 24 months, eating fruit and vegetables on a regular basis can boost your happiness just as quickly as they can improve your health, meaning that vegetable consumption has short-term benefits as well as long-term rewards.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
The study is one of the first major scientific attempts to explore the impact of fresh fruit and vegetables on psychological well-being, moving beyond the basic understanding that consuming fresh produce is a key part of a healthy diet.
“Previous research has found that the long-term physical benefits of eating fresh vegetables aren’t necessarily enough to motivate consumers to increase their consumption, even when these benefits are widely known and understood,” said Mr Lindhe.
“Hopefully, the industry will be able to use these findings to communicate the full range of benefits that vegetables can offer consumers, from physical health to mental health.”
“Australians are extremely lucky to have access to the delicious, high-quality fresh vegetables produced by local Australian growers, and with all these benefits on offer, we encourage consumers to take advantage of the great produce growing right in their back yard.”