Your parents were on to something when they gently requested that you eat your vegetables—turns out, doing so can make you happier. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, your peas and carrots can do more than reduce your risk of health complications like heart attacks and cancer. Recent research indicates that eating more fruits and vegetables can actually substantially increase happiness levels.
"Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health," University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald, who worked on the U.K. study, said in a statement. "People's motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical-health benefits, such as protecting against cancer, accrue decades later. However, well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate."
Consumers who upgraded their diets from almost no fruit and vegetables to eight servings of the healthy stuff experienced an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to the feeling of getting a job after spending time unemployed. Anyone who's ever experienced a similar milestone can attest that's a pretty major feeling and an excellent reason to get more greens or grapes or green beans.
We officially resolve to not leave the dinner table until all of our vegetables are gone (mom and dad would be proud!).
And, when you think about all the ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into mealtimes, it's actually super easy to reach those eight daily servings. First there's all of the salads, like this totally not basic kale salad, this cool summer salad with a long ingredient list of vegetables, this melon and tomato number, or this smoky avocado dish. Then there's the multitude of smoothies like these surf-inspired mix ups or this Elle Macpherson fave. Finally, there are all the ways to make vegetables the main focus of your dinners like this tomato-heavy pasta or any of these three gazpacho recipes.
We feel happier already!