Need a confidence boost? Have a piece of fruit. According to recent findings from the University of Otaga, eating an additional two servings of fruit and vegetables each day can result in increased mental clarity and motivation.
There has been long-standing research supporting the consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. These food groups have been known to promote healthy body composition and support a healthy immune system, digestive system and more.
However, there has been inconclusive research thus far to support the theory that fruits and vegetables can promote psychological health as well. While some past studies have suggested that there is a correlation, there has not been a deeper look into this subject until now.
Dr. Tamlin Conner and her team from the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand conducted a study to find the link, if there was one, between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental well being. To do so, they enlisted the help of over 170 students between the ages of 18 and 25. This age group is known to already have a lower consumption of these foods, with many college students in America not even reaching one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.
The subjects were divided into three different groups. In one group, the individuals were personally handed two extra servings of fruits and vegetables. In another group, the subjects were given vouchers for free produce and were sent text messages to remind them to consume more fruits and vegetables. Finally, the last group continued with their normal eating patterns.
At the start of the study, the participants were given a psychological evaluation to determine their mental health. This covered areas such as vitality, depression, anxiety, motivation and other aspects of mental well-being. This same evaluation was given after two weeks of going through the study.
The final results after the two-week period confirmed that the subjects who were personally given two extra servings of fruits and vegetables ended up eating the most of these foods over the other two groups. They consumed an average of 3.7 servings daily, and also showed the most increase in psychological health.
Vitality, motivation and flourishing all improved in just two short weeks in this group, while the other groups did not show any improvement in mental well being in any of the categories.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables is two and three, respectively. With under four servings of fruits and vegetables combined, the students still showed a marked improvement. When consuming the recommended daily amount, it can be theorized that mental health will show greater improvements.