Eat Your Way to Happiness: 7 Servings of Smiles with Fruits and Veggies

Does your life feel like an endless gray cloud these days? If you find yourself in a slump, don’t underestimate the power of your diet in lifting your spirits. Sure, it sounds simple, but consuming more fruits and vegetables can have a noticeable impact on your mental health. Research now reveals that people who eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily enjoy enhanced mental well-being.

##Why Seven Servings Make the Difference

Many of us have grown up believing that a healthy diet consists of eating five portions of fruits and vegetables––so, why seven servings? In a study by British economists and health researchers at the University of Warwick, the mental health of 80,000 Britons was observed. The researchers found that participants who had a higher daily intake of fruits and vegetables found a strong sense of mental well-being. This sense seemed to peak when they consumed seven servings daily.

While there is debate about whether consuming more or fewer portions is beneficial for physical health, seven servings per day have proven to boost mental well-being. How can you ensure you’re eating the right way regularly? Here are some tips for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet to brighten your mood.

##1. Begin with breakfast

One of the most effective ways to increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake is by making breakfast a fruitful meal. Start your day with a smoothie that includes a mix of frozen fruit, vegetables, and protein sources like yogurt, milk, or nuts. Your body will get an instant boost of mood-enhancing nutrients, and you’ll start your day with one or two servings already under your belt.

##2. Snack smart

Say goodbye to chips and candy bars. Instead, choose healthy, high-energy, mood-boosting options, such as pre-sliced fruit and vegetables stored in ziplock bags or containers for easy on-the-go access. Crunchy veggies like carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, and cucumber slices can be just as satisfying as a handful of potato chips. Make sure you keep a variety of fruit and vegetables in your pantry to avoid monotony and introduce more colorful, nutrient-rich foods that will nourish your body and mind.

##3. Get creative with your salads

Salads don’t have to be a boring bowl of lettuce and tomatoes. Mixing it up with different fruits, vegetables, and proteins can make your green meal the king of salads. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various flavors and textures. The more variety and color you add to your salad, the higher your portions of fruits and vegetables will be, helping you towards your goal of seven servings per day.

##4. Choose wisely when dining out

When eating out, many of us succumb to the temptation of fried, unhealthy options. However, most restaurants offer a side of vegetables, or healthier options on their menus. Choose dishes that feature fruit and vegetables as the center, like a meat-stuffed pepper, or substitute fries for a side of steamed vegetables. Your body and mind will thank you later.

##5. Fake your dessert

Satisfy your sweet tooth by using fruit as the main ingredient for desserts. Bake apple slices topped with cinnamon and nutmeg, or enjoy a smoothie bowl with fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate shavings. Experiment with your favorite seasonal fruit to discover new ways to make your dessert both nutritious and delicious.

##6. Stay committed to change

Remember, it will take time to adjust your eating habits. Be persistent and continue to incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. As you become more accustomed to these changes, you’ll notice an improvement in your overall well-being. Do keep in mind that everyone is unique, and results may vary from person to person. If you’re unsure about your dietary needs, consult with a healthcare professional.

In conclusion, while the exact reason why consuming more fruits and vegetables affects mental health is still being studied, the benefits in terms of both health and well-being are indisputable. A daily intake of seven servings goes a long way in banishing the blues and keeping you feeling your best. Remember that one serving of fruit or vegetable is typically half a cup, while one serving of leafy greens like spinach is one cup. Equipped with these dietary guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to a brighter and happier life.