Fruits and vegetables are a pivotal part of a healthful diet, but their benefits are not limited to physical health. New research finds that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may improve psychological well-being in as little as 2 weeks.
Study leader Dr. Tamlin Conner, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues found that young adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day for 14 days ate more of the produce and experienced a boost in motivation and vitality.
The researchers recently reported their findings in the journal PLOS One.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, adults should aim to consume around two cups of fruits and around two to three cups of vegetables daily.
One cup of fruits is the equivalent to half a grapefruit or a large orange, and one cup of vegetables is proportionate to one large red pepper or a large, baked sweet potato.
As part of a healthful diet, fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
In recent years, studies have suggested that fruit and vegetable intake may also improve mental health.