Fruits and Vegetables Mental Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. The WHO also states that around 450 million people, globally, are currently suffering from mental health conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

How Can Fruit and Vegetables Help?

Inexpensive and effective ways are needed today to help improve our psychological wellbeing.

Studies suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables may help improve our mental health. They found that there is a relationship between higher levels of happiness and the consumption of fruits and vegetable intake.

We found it extremely fascinating that people regularly consuming fruit and vegetables on a daily basis have a higher likelihood of being classified as “very happy”.

How Could Eating More Plant-based food and Vegetables Improve our Mood?

Fruit and vegetables contain high levels of vitamin C, which is a co-factor for the neurotransmitter dopamine in the body. Dopamine plays a central role in mood, sleep, attention, behavior, and pleasurable reward. 

Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and research suggests that it may lead to eudemonic well being. Eudemonic well being is a state of flourishing characterized by a feeling of engagement and meaning in life.  The eudemonic approach focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning. 

In a study that included 400 young adults they found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables reporting a higher average of eudemonic well being (being more in control, proactive and having a choice and) as well as stronger feelings of curiosity and creativity.

However, one might wonder if eating more fruit and vegetables actually causes us to feel better or is it, perhaps, that maybe great moods lead us to eat fruits and vegetables (healthy)…

Image © ogichobanov © Foxys_forest_manufacture/Getty Images

So, another study came out testing the correlation between what we eat today, and how we feel tomorrow. They reported a strong relationship between fruit and vegetables consumption and daily positive mood.

Not only that but also it showed that fruit and vegetable consumption predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, not vice versa.

When people consumed more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling happier, calmer, and more energetic than normal on that day.
They also reported positive feelings the next day.

How Many Fruits and Vegetables Should we Consume Each Day to Feel “Happier” or “Better”?

A study conducted in the United Kingdom found that people who ate seven to eight servings of fruits and vegetables reported feeling more happy and satisfied. That being said, we need 7 to 8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to notice a change in our moods!

We hope you found this article interesting!

Written by Nour Amaneddine
Licensed Dietitian ⁣
Sports Nutritionist

nour amaneddine nutrition Fruit and Vegetables specialist
Nour Amaneddine

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s EMPWR Editorial!
Please feel free to email us at [email protected]

Get your writing featured on Empower Mag here!

Join the conversation on The EMPWR Facebook Community Group: “The Empower Community”