A lot of people associate happy eating with their favorite foods — a luscious plate of carbonara or a comforting pint of premium ice cream. But even though we think those foods put us in a better mood, it turns out that the food group most likely to make you happier is fruits and vegetables.
I mean, sure, when you’re choking down an under-dressed salad and what you really want is a pulled pork sandwich, vegetables may seem like they’re actually ruining your life. But a recent study found that the more fruits and veggies you eat, the happier you are; happiness “increased incrementally for each extra daily portion of fruit and vegetables” that a person consumed compared to their usual diet. Best of all, the change in well-being occurred within 24 hours.
And people weren’t just a little happier. They had a deeper sense of satisfaction with their lives, and for those who went from consuming no vegetables to eating them eight times a day, the difference was extreme. According to the study, they measured that the jump in life satisfaction was “equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment.” As anyone who’s been unemployed before can tell you, getting a job after not having any income for a while is a huge deal. The fact that simply eating more produce can spark this same emotional boost is pretty cool.
The researchers are hoping that this new information could help people get more excited about eating fruits and veg. I mean, it’s one thing to realize that you’ll be physically healthier at some hazy point in the future and might not get sick if you eat your fruit and vegetables, but knowing that increasing your intake of produce can make you happier in the here and now? That’s kind of a big deal.
So next time you’re down in the dumps and find yourself craving lasagna, think again. What you actually need is a big, old dose of fresh fruits and vegetables (though, if you compromise by just adding a ton of veggies to your lasagna, I won’t tell).