Food and mood: Eating fruit and vegetables may promote emotional wellbeing

What you eat can greatly affect your health and wellbeing. New scientific studies have found that food can impact how you feel. Research from two different studies suggest that the food you eat can affect your mood and influence your emotional wellbeing.

A quantitative study conducted by Pennsylvania State University and published in Appetite in April 2012 found an association between consuming fruit and vegetables one day and being in a positive mood the next day, among 212 university students. The study also found consuming a diet high in calories, saturated fats and sodium was associated with increased negative mood two days later.

Similarly, another quantitative study led by researchers at University of Otago, New Zealand and published online in the British Journal of Health Psychology on 24th January 2013 found a strong association between fruit and vegetable intake and positive mood measured by standardised questionnaires over a 21 day period. The results showed that among the 281 participants, consuming approximately 7-9 servings of fruit or vegetables daily predicted improvements in mood the next day.

Jean Hailes dietitian Anna Waldron says, it seems there is growing evidence that eating a healthy balanced diet in the right quantity for your needs may improve your mood and mental wellbeing. It is difficult to separate which nutrients are the most beneficial so I would suggest eating a large variety of foods including plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrain cereals, together with some protein foods and unsaturated fats. Try to limit processed and more refined foods, which are likely to be higher in calories, saturated fat and sodium without providing as many essential nutrients. Even more reason to make some positive changes to your eating habits.