By Katie Davis I t has been known for a long time that fruits and veg- etables are a pivotal part of any healthy diet, but their benefits are not limited to physical health. New research finds that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may improve psychological well-being also. According to a study by the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, Study leader, Dr. Tamlin Conner and her colleagues found that young adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day over a 14 day period experienced a boost in motivation and vitality. One group continued with their normal eating pattern, one group was personally handed two additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, while the third group was given prepaid produce vouchers and received text reminders to consume more fruits and vegetables. All participants were subjected to psychological assess- ments that evaluated mood, vitality, motivation, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other determinants of mental health and well-being at the start and conclusion of the study. The study which included 171 students between the ages of 18 and 25, were divided into three study groups for 14 days.

The research results found that study participants who were personally given extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 14 day study, consuming 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being after the study was completed. In particular, these participants demon- strated improvements in vitality and motivation.

The other two study groups showed no improvements in psychological well-being over the 14 day study period.

Although the findings would have to be researched and data study over a much longer time period to under- stand the true impact of the study, researchers say that their findings indicate that increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables may lead to rapid benefits for psycholog- ical well-being. This should not be surprising results as the United States Department of Agriculture, recommends that adults should aim to consume around two cups of fruits and around two to three cups of vegetables daily to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to help reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

So start handing out those apples as not only will they fill you up when you are hungry they can also make your happier.



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