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Happier New Year with Fruits and Vegetables

2016 0101 Happiest New Year
Eating More Fruits and Vegetables May Help Prevent Depression

Wish your loved ones a “Happy New Year” by sending them a bouquet of produce! As we know, eating more fruits and vegetables may help you lose weight, a popular theme during the month of New Year’s resolutions, but a 2015 study published in BMC Medicine reveals eating more fruits and vegetables may also be the key to greater happiness in the New Year.

Researchers from Spain assessed the diets of more than 15,000 Spanish adults over a ten year period. They specifically looked at how well participants adhered to a Mediterranean diet, a pro-vegetarian diet, or the Alternative Health Eating Index—all diets that are centered on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Researchers also noted how many people developed depression during the ten years.

Results suggest following one of these produce-based diets could help lower risk of depression. Even slight adherence to a Mediterranean diet lowered relative risk of depression by 25-30%. Those who adhered closest to the pro-vegetarian diet, which nearly but not entirely eliminates meat from the diet, saw a 22% drop in the rate of developing depression compared with those who did not comply. Adhering to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index dropped rate of depression nearly in half for some.

Fruits and vegetables have been linked to happiness in the past. A study from the British Medical Journal found that people with the highest mental well-being were more likely to report eating more fruit and vegetables, and a study from the University of Queensland found eating fruits and vegetables was positively associated with life satisfaction and overall happiness.

Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet by eating them in place of less healthy foods. Try mushrooms in place of meat, sweet potatoes for butter, bananas for ice cream, or other creative kitchen swaps. Our Whole Roasted Cauliflower stars beautiful cauliflower as the center of the dish.

Published January 1, 2016

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