A silver lining … and a slice of apple? Research shows fruits and vegetables not only nourish your body—they also make you happier.
One possible explanation: The feel-good boost of knowing you’re eating healthy. By now, almost everyone has heard that fruits and vegetables form the cornerstone of a nutritious diet. So you should rightfully feel proud of placing them on your plate.
The Brain Power of Produce
But that’s not all. Healthy compounds in produce help your brain function properly, improving your psychological health. Star nutrients include:
• Complex carbohydrates. All carbs provide an instant lift as glucose, insulin, and serotonin flow through your veins. But unlike simple sugars, which often cause you to quickly crash, complex carbs from starchy veggies and fruits keep your blood sugar and hormone levels steady.
• B vitamins, including folate and vitamin B-6. Your body needs these nutrients to produce brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Fall short and your emotions tend to run off track.
Some evidence also suggests that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, including vitamins C and E, may help combat a process in your body that triggers cell damage. The jury is still out, but it’s possible antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may help keep your mood intact, and in particular, protect against depression.
Which Fruits and Veggies to Choose?
Health experts recommend at least five to nine servings per day of fruits and veggies. Create your own mood-boosting shopping list with these picks. They’re easy to find, low-cost, and can all fit into dishes your whole family will love.
• Peas: Mix into pasta; stir into salads; or combine with onion, garlic, broth, and seasonings for a tasty soup.
• Spinach: Use as a pizza topping, heat up frozen greens as a side dish, or heat in a pan with chickpeas for a tasty beans-and-greens sauté.
• Bananas: Think beyond cereal—try bananas blended into smoothies, sliced lengthwise and topped with frozen yogurt, or even tossed with apples, lettuce, and peanuts for an unexpected salad.
Article from The StayWell Company, LLC