A major scientific study authored by researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of Warwick has revealed eating fruit and vegetables not only reduces risk of cancer and heart attacks, but also increases happiness levels with each extra portion consumed.
Going meat free for one week creates a great opportunity to get people thinking about how much meat they eat and the impact consuming too much may have on their health not only physically, but now in light of new research, mentally.
This new study suggests health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables may extend beyond the body to the mind, which makes the Meat Free Week challenge even more compelling.
The study, soon to be published in the prestigious American Journal of Public Health, followed more than 12,000 people, and found that alterations in fruit and vegetable intake were predictive of later alterations in happiness and satisfaction with life.
People who transitioned over a two year period from a diet consisting of barely any fruit or vegetables to one that included eight portions per day, had the same increase in life satisfaction as someone who went from being unemployed to employed.
Less than 10 per cent of Australians meet the current guidelines recommending five serves of vegetables each day and less than half meet the recommendation of two serves of fruit[i]. While in the UK, only 30 per cent of adults and 41 per cent of older adults met the “5-a-day” recommendation[ii].
We hope the new research will encourage more people to take up the challenge and sign on for Meat Free Week this year.
+ ABOUT THE RESEARCH
“Evolution of well-being and happiness after increases in the consumption of fruit and vegetables” by Redzo Mujcic and Andrew Oswald, forthcoming in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
The paper will be available here http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/ DOI: AJPH.2016.303260
+ HEALTHY TIPS
- Eat at least 5 servings (400g) of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits every day.
- Eat relatively unprocessed cereals (grains) and/or pulses (legumes) with every meal.
- Limit refined starchy foods.
+ PLANT FOODS AS SOURCE OF DIETARY FIBRE
- Updated data shows convincing evidence that foods containing dietary fibre protect against bowel cancer (10% decreased risk per 10g/day).
- Limited evidence suggests non-starchy vegetables (i.e. green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, but not potato etc.) and fruit protect against bowel cancer.
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 4338.0 - Profiles of Health, Australia, 2011-13. [Online]. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/by%20Subject/4338.0~2011-13~Main%20Features~Daily%20intake%20of%20fruit%20and%20vegetables~10009#, last accessed July 2016.
[ii] Public Health England. New National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows UK population is eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. [Online]. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-national-diet-and-nutrition-survey-shows-uk-population-is-eating-too-much-sugar-saturated-fat-and-salt, last accessed July 2016.