There's no better time of year to eat more fruits and vegetables than summer when they're so fresh and abundant. Now there's an added incentive to upping your intake of produce: it will put you in a better mood, according to Futurity.
An Australian study to be published in the American Journal of Public Health found that eating eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day can make you happier. The results won't happen on day one, but over time, many people had significant increased life satisfaction, researchers Redzo Mujcic and Andrew J.Oswald found.
Increased fruit and vegetable consumption was predictive of increased happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being. They were up to 0.24 life-satisfaction points (for an increase of 8 portions a day), which is equal in size to the psychological gain of moving from unemployment to employment. Improvements occurred within 24 months.
That concrete comparison — the increase in happiness is like "moving from unemployment to employment" — impressed me because it's easy to imagine what that feels like.
How much is a serving?
Of course, if you want to make it your goal to hit eight servings of fruits or vegetables a day, you need to know how much a serving is.
The study didn't define a serving size, but according to the Australian government site Eat for Health, a standard serving of vegetables is about 75 grams (like 1/2 cup cooked green or orange vegetables or 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables) and a standard serving of fruit is about 150 grams (one medium apple, banana, orange, pear or 1 cup diced or canned no-sugar-added fruit).
Getting in eight servings of fruits and vegetables might seem daunting if you're not used to it, but this is the perfect season to change your ways. It's a lot easier to get in that amount when your choices are abundant and you can enjoy juicy watermelon, fresh berries or locally grown, flavorful tomatoes and zucchini. Cementing this new habit now will make it easier to stick with your goal during the winter, when options aren't as plentiful.