You Can Boost Moods with Food

How can foods improve moods?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, as Grandma was often heard to say.

Until recent years, the statement would have been in relation to “physical” health. However, if you hear this saying now, it may be referring to an apple a day keeps the “emotional blues” away.

So, is it true? Can foods actually affect your mood?

Current studies that have been completed within the last few years suggest eating fruits and vegetables each day can not only make you physically healthy, but also mentally healthy!

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One study found a definite positive response between young people and their moods.

From simply raising the consumption of fruit and vegetables, 281 young adults (ages between 18 and 21) were found to be happier, more energetic, with increased emotional stability.

The conclusion attributed mood improvement to the minimum daily consumption of about 8 servings of fruit and vegetables (excluding juices and dried fruit).

The findings led the scientists to see a direct correlation between eating plant-based foods and improved emotional well-being among healthy young adults.

The clinical study was conducted at New Zealand University of Otago by Dr. Tamlin Conner and peers, with the result published in British Journal of Health Psychology (2013). (Read more here.)

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Another clinical trial, conducted on 12,000 adults in October 2014, was performed at the University Of Queensland School Of Pharmacy.

Dr. Redzon Mujcic studied and reported on the participants’ mood responses for two years. The test subjects showed noticeable improved mood when 8 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables (four to five servings each) were consumed daily.

Dr. Mujcic also discovered that the response of uplifted mood was far more dramatic with women than men, though both showed marked improvement. (Read more here, and see the study results here.)

Even though organizations, such as the World Health Organization, promote guidelines of at least 5 total servings of produce per day, these university studies revealed a need to increase daily intake to a level of at least 8 to 10 servings of vegetables/fruit each day…  One serving = 1/2 Cup (approximately).

Discovering that the level of plant-based food consumption demonstrates a positive and significant impact on the sense of well-being, feeling of satisfaction, mental balance, and vitality, it may be worth planning your weekly meals with the first focus on produce.

So, besides, “Don’t run with scissors” and “Don’t go swimming right after a meal”, we can add the “apple a day” advice to the list of Grandma’s wise truisms.

If you need a bit of kick-start with produce-based menu planning, get some fresh ideas at,  “Mood Foods and 11 Recipes for Life”.

[Applied Health Publications are registered in the United States Library of Congress, ISSN: 1525-6359]