(Medical News Today) Fruits and vegetables are a pivotal part of a healthful diet, but their benefits are not limited to physical health.
New research finds that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may improve psychological well-being in as little as 2 weeks.
Study leader Dr. Tamlin Conner, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues found that young adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day for 14 days ate more of the produce and experienced a boost in motivation and vitality.
Increased motivation, vitality with higher intake of fruits and vegetables
The researchers enrolled 171 students aged between 18 and 25 to their study, and they were divided into three groups for 2 weeks.
One group continued with their normal eating pattern, one group was personally handed two additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (including carrots, kiwi fruit, apples, and oranges) each day, while the remaining group was given prepaid produce vouchers and received text reminders to consume more fruits and vegetables.
At the beginning and end of the study, participants were subjected to psychological assessments that evaluated mood, vitality, motivation, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other determinants of mental health and well-being.
The researchers found that participants who personally received extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 2 weeks, at 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being.
In particular, these participants demonstrated improvements in vitality, motivation, and flourishing.
The other two groups showed no improvements in psychological well-being over the 2-week period.
The team concludes:
“Providing young adults with high-quality FV [fruits and vegetables], not texting them reminders to eat more FV and giving them a voucher, resulted in improvements to their psychological well-being over a 2-week period.”