New study suggests many apples a day keep the blues at bay

January 23, 2013, University of Otago

Eating more fruit and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life, new research from New Zealand's University of Otago suggests.

Department of Psychology researchers Dr Tamlin Conner and Bonnie White, and Dr Caroline Horwath from Otago's Department of , investigated the relationship between day-to-day emotions and .

The study is published in the British today.

A total of 281 young adults (with a mean age of 20 years) completed an internet-based daily food diary for 21 consecutive days. Prior to this, participants completed a questionnaire giving details of their age, gender, ethnicity, weight and height. Those with a history of an eating disorder were excluded.

On each of the 21 days participants logged into their diary each evening and rated how they felt using nine positive and nine negative adjectives. They were also asked five questions about what they had eaten that day. Specifically, participants were asked to report the number of servings eaten of fruit (excluding fruit juice and dried fruit), vegetables (excluding juices), and several categories of like biscuits/cookies, potato crisps, and cakes/muffins.

The results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and , but not other foods.

"On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did," says Dr Conner.

To understand which comes first – feeling positive or eating – Dr Conner and her team ran additional analyses and found that eating fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, suggesting that healthy foods may improve mood. These findings held regardless of the BMI of individuals.

"After further analysis we demonstrated that young people would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of per day to notice a meaningful positive change. One serving of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size that could fit in your palm, or half a cup. My co-author Bonnie White suggests that this can be done by making half your plate at each meal vegetables and snacking on whole fruit like apples," says Dr Conner.

She adds that while this research shows a promising connection between healthy foods and healthy moods, further research is necessary and the authors recommend the development of randomised control trials evaluating the influence of high and vegetable intake on mood and wellbeing.

Explore further: Young Australians lack good quality fruit and vegetable knowledge

Related Stories

Young Australians lack good quality fruit and vegetable knowledge

December 8, 2011
A new survey of young Australians has found one in two don't know how many servings of fruit and vegetables to eat in a day, and even fewer know the serving sizes of common fruit and vegetables.

CDC: Adults eating less fruit, not enough veggies

September 9, 2010
(AP) -- An apple a day? Apparently not in the United States.

Babies weaned on home-cooked fruit, veg more likely to eat '5 a day' as children

July 22, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Babies weaned on home-cooked fruit and vegetables are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables as children, according to recent research.

Regular family meals together boost kids' fruit and vegetable intake

December 19, 2012
Regular family meals round a table boosts kids' fruit and vegetable intake, and make it easier for them to reach the recommended five portions a day, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and ...

Green leafy vegetables reduce diabetes risk

August 19, 2010
Eating more green leafy vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, finds research published today in the British Medical Journal.

Fruit and vegetable intake in pregnant women reduces risk of upper respiratory tract infection

July 8, 2009
Boston University School of Medicine researchers (BUSM) have observed in a study of pregnant women that consumption of at least seven servings per day of fruits and vegetables moderately reduced the risk of developing an ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests biological basis for depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances in older adults

October 15, 2018
UC San Francisco researchers, in collaboration with the unique Brazilian Biobank for Aging Studies (BBAS) at the University of São Paulo, have shown that the earliest stages of the brain degeneration associated with Alzheimer's ...

Early changes to synapse gene regulation may cause Alzheimer's disease

October 15, 2018
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, involving memory loss and a reduction in cognitive abilities. Patients with AD develop multiple abnormal protein structures in their brains that are thought to ...

Clues that suggest people are lying may be deceptive, study shows

October 12, 2018
The verbal and physical signs of lying are harder to detect than people believe, a study suggests.

How to avoid raising a materialistic child

October 12, 2018
If you're a parent, you may be concerned that materialism among children has been on the rise. According to research, materialism has been linked to a variety of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, as ...

The long-term effects of maternal high-fat diets

October 12, 2018
If a mother eats a high-fat diet, this can have a negative effect on the health of her offspring—right down to her great-grandchildren. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at ETH Zurich from a study with mice.

Study finds orgasm face and pain face are not the same

October 11, 2018
A team of researchers from the UK and Spain has found evidence showing that contrary to popular belief, the orgasm face is not the same as the pain face. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Eric_B
not rated yet Jan 24, 2013
control trials?!?

you mean like, determining whether the absence B vitamins and other nutrients essential for brain functioning effect one's moods?

brilliant.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.