What (Else) Is So Great About Fruits and Vegetables

What (Else) Is So Great About Fruits and Vegetables

You know when you’ve had one of THOSE days? Nobody wanted to eat the breakfast you served, someone announced on the way to school that you were responsible for bringing 200 gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, cruelty free cupcakes to school… today, you’re pretty sure you have 3 colds simultaneously and you’re feeling so rushed you shaved one leg in the shower this morning and have pencilled the other one in for Thursday, fingers crossed? You know how on those kind of days, all you want to do is go home, put on the comfies, get prone on the sofa and pour yourself a giant glass of juice? Oh, and maybe a comforting bowl of carrots? No? Well, put down the Cabernet, back away from the Chunky Monkey and hear me out because apparently, produce is the antidepressant of the nutrition world. Truly, it can make you happier. What’s that you say? The Cab was making you pretty damn happy too? Just go with me.

So obviously there are many things that are good about fruits and vegetables. They’re filled with heart and gut friendly fibre, abundant in cancer-preventing and inflammation-reducing antioxidants and in the case of fruit they satisfy a sweet craving without empty calories, tooth decay and crazy blood sugar spikes. Plus kids generally love fruit and many are more open to raw veggies as a snack (provided adequate dipping options are provided) so it can be a struggle-free way to build nutrition into even the pickiest eater’s diet. Now we can add the “happiness quotient” to all the reasons to make fruits and vegetables a priority.

According to a new joint study out of the University of Warwick in the U.K. and Dartmouth College in the U.S. (and reported on www.sciencedaily.com), “upping your fruit and veggie intake to seven servings daily from the typically recommended five servings promotes happiness and improved mental health.  Researchers studied the dietary habits of 80,000 people in Britain and surveyed participants on life satisfaction, mental well-being, history or presence of mental disorders, nervousness, feelings of depression, and personal self-reported health and happiness.” According to study co-author Sarah Stewart-Brown, MD, “The statistical power of fruits and vegetables was a surprise (since) diet has traditionally been ignored by well-being researchers.” While the government recommendation in most countries is a minimum of five servings, researchers found that “wellbeing peaked at seven servings.”  Statistics Canada reports that “a majority of adult Canadians eats fewer than 5 servings per day and 7 out of 10 children are getting fewer than 5 servings as well. Those numbers are similar in the U.S. and quite a bit lower in Britain. It may never be easy to get solid nutrition into your children’s diets (heck, its tough enough to get ourselves to eat well and we know better!) but it is worth it to fight the good fight and keep offering up a variety of fruits and vegetables. Not just to keep them healthy….but to keep them happy. Ok, you may re-engage with that glass of wine. Or should I say, that glass of grapes!

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