How’s your mood? The surprising fruit and vegetable connection

We’ve long known that eating fruits and vegetables promotes good health. Do you anyone whose mother didn’t tell them to eat their fruits and vegetables?  Over the long term, they may provide us with an arsenal of weaponry against a range of diseases.  But a new study, out of New Zealand, evaluated the effects of these foods on today’s well-being, not just that of your tomorrows.

New Zealand researchers set out to determine whether foods, such as of fruit, vegetables, sweets, and chips are associated with certain states of well-being like curiosity and creativity. In a sample of more than 400 young adults (average age 19.9 years),  for 13 days, the subjects logged their consumption of these foods along with their feelings of well-being – curiosity, creativity and whether they felt positive or negative.

The good news was that the healthy foods were linked to all of the factors showing a more positive sense of well-being. The bad news is that the effects didn’t appear to carry through from one day to the next.

Now you might think that those who ate the more nutritious foods also practiced healthier lifestyles but the scientists point out that the associations are not entirely explained by this. Fruits and vegetables seem to have other perks on their own.

For example, the potassium contained in fruits and vegetables, a mineral most of us don’t meet the quota for, plays a role as shortfalls can leave you tired. Produce is chock full of water so it may counter dehydration and subsequently, fatigue. But one thing’s also likely; a person who eats their fruit and veggies is also likely fuelling up through the day with other healthy eats which can also yield positive results.

So if you’re looking for increased productivity through the day whether you are at home, an office or other workplaces or at school, (and who isn’t?) boost your output by upping your fruit and vegetable intake.

Here are a few tips to boost your produce servings.

•    Liven up the taste of cut up vegetables and fruits with assorted dips such as hummus, salad dressing and Greek yogurt for both savory and sweet offerings depending on how you dress it up.

•    Tote packets of dried fruit and nut mixes for a portable snack.

•    Stir diced fruit, fresh or dried, into muffin or quick bread   batter.

•    Go for plain yogurt and add your own fruit as most fruit-flavoured varieties are just that- flavoured. You’re lucky if you find more than one tablespoon contained.

•    Keep individual portions of canned unsweetened fruit in your desk drawer or briefcase for a handy snack.

•    When preparing vegetables for dinner, make extra and then toss them with a homemade dressing and immediately refrigerate in a container for lunch the next day.

•    As variety is key in consuming an assortment of nutrients, if munching on fresh fruit is not to your taste, and if you  prefer more savoury dishes, add sliced fruit to  salads.

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Do you have any tips you can share? Please do so in the comment section below.

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Categories: Nutrition News, Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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