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Apart from reducing the risk of cancer and heart attacks, consuming up to eight portions of fruits and vegetables a day can substantially increase people's happiness levels in life, finds a new study.
"Eating fruits and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health," said Andrew Oswald, professor at the University of Warwick in London.
The findings showed that happiness increased incrementally for each extra daily portion of fruits and vegetables up to eight portions per day.
People who changed from almost no fruits and vegetables in their diet to having eight portions of fruits and veggies in a day showed an increase in life satisfaction.
Usually, people's motivation to eat healthy food gets weakened by the fact that these were predictive of alterations in happiness and satisfaction later in life.
"However, well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruits and vegetables are closer to immediate," Oswald added.
Large positive psychological benefits were found within 2 years of an improved diet consisting of more fruits and vegetables, the researchers noted.
"There is a psychological payoff now from fruits and vegetables -- not just a lower health risk decades later," noted Redzo Mujcic, researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia.
The results could be used by health care professionals to persuade people to consume more fruits and vegetables, particularly in the developed world, where a typical citizen eats an unhealthy diet, said the paper to be published in the American Journal of Public Health.
For the study, the team followed food diaries of 12,385 randomly selected people.
The authors adjusted the effects on incident changes in happiness and life satisfaction for people's changing incomes and personal circumstances.
In conclusion, they found that having up to 8 portions of fruits and veggies really helped people is attaining happiness in the everyday chores of their lives.
(Inputs From IANS)