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Consuming fruit and vegetables and exercising can make you happier


Consuming fruit and vegetables and exercising can make you happier


New research led by the University of Kent and University of Reading has found that fruit and vegetable consumption and exercise can increase levels of happiness.

Published: September 16, 2021

Source: University of Kent

Consuming more fruit and vegetables can improve your mental well-being, according to a new study.

It has been well documented how lifestyle and wellbeing are strongly linked. This has encouraged many to embark on healthier diets and exercise.

Promising findings have been published by the Journal of Happiness Studies, showing that there is also a positive causation from lifestyle to life satisfaction.

This research is the leading one in the field, demonstrating how happiness, the consumption of fruit and vegetables and exercising are related, rather than generalising a correlation. 

The researchers, Dr Adelina Gschwandtner (University of Kent's School of Economics), Dr Sarah Jewell and Professor Uma Kambhampati (both from the University of Reading's School of Economics), used an instrumental variable approach to filter out any effect from happiness to lifestyle. It showed that it is rather the consumption of fruit and vegetables and exercising that makes people happy and not the other way round.

Findings demonstrate that the ability of individuals to delay gratification and apply self-control plays a major role in influencing lifestyle decisions, which in turn has a positive impact on wellbeing. The research also shows that men appear to exercise more, and women eat more fruit and vegetables.

Lifestyle diseases represent a leading cause of ill health and mortality worldwide, hence these findings could have significant implications for public health policy.

Dr Gschwandtner said: 'If a better lifestyle not only makes us healthier but also happier, then it is a clear win-win situation.'


Story Source and Journal References:

​​Materials provided by University of Kent. Content may be edited for style and length.

  1. Adelina Gschwandtner, Sarah Jewell, Uma S. Kambhampati. Lifestyle and Life Satisfaction: The Role of Delayed Gratification. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2021; DOI: 10.1007/s10902-021-00440-y

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