7+ a day the key to feeling good
Fri, 25 Jan 2013 10:08a.m.
By Dan Satherley
Forget five servings of fruit and vegetables a day – if you really want to feel good, you need to have seven or eight.
That's according to new research from the University of Otago, which tracked the eating habits and moods of nearly 300 students and found those who ate healthy felt better not just physically, but mentally.
Research leader Tamlin Conner from the university's psychology department says it doesn't matter if its fresh, frozen or canned – as long as you eat lots of it.
"What we found was that on those days where students reported eating more fruits and vegetables, they also felt happier that day – they reported feeling happier, calmer and more energetic compared to how they normally feel."
And it's not just a case of happier people eating healthier, and sadder people reaching for the chips and chocolate. The amount of fruit and veges eaten one day had a direct influence on the next.
"By tracking people over time, we were also able to tease out what came first – was it eating fruit and vegetables or feeling good? And by using some statistical analyses there, what we found was that eating fruit and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day – but positive mood did not predict increases in fruit and vegetable consumption the next day.
"So what this suggests is that it's likely, although not definitely, it's likely that it's eating fruit and vegetables that is causing your positive mood."
The catch is you can't just top up your intake with an apple or two to reach the recommended five daily servings.
"There's a growing recognition that a better target might be seven to eight servings of fruit and vegetables a day," says Ms Conner.
For those without the willpower to resist treats, the study had some comforting news – eating badly didn't necessarily make you feel down.
"The one finding that we saw is that on days people ate more crisps, they reported feeling more of a negative mood, but this effect really wasn't strong enough for us to feel confident that it's really significant."
The next step the researchers want to take is a fully randomised study with a large number of participants and a control group, to turn their hypothesis into fact.
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17/02/2013 11:07:38 a.m.
All this study shows, is the power of advertising. There is relentless promotion of fruits and vegetables despite the toxic side effects to many people. 5+ADAY is a fruit and vegetable industry advertising campaign. What about people with salicylate sensitivity? No mention of health warnings about high salicylate levels or fruits that rot teeth. People feel good when they eat fruits and vegetables because that is what they are told to think day in day out!
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