Be honest – how often do you turn to sweets, chips and other snacks to alleviate stress? You’re hardly alone, as the phrase “comfort eating” exists for a reason. The problem is that this is exactly the opposite of the foods you should be eating – for more than one reason.
One Thing Leads to Another
If you want a happier life, you should try to consume fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis. This was the opinion of researchers from the University of Reading and University of Kent, both of which are located in the United Kingdom.
While this might sound like common sense, this study is actually the first research to offer a solid link between fruit/vegetable consumption, exercise and happiness. In other words, the researchers conclusively determined that happiness doesn’t lead to a taste for fruits and veggies and a desire to workout, but vice versa.
Thinking Smart, Eating Smart
This wasn’t the only noteworthy finding unearthed by the study authors. The Kent/Reading teams also found that people who were able to control their desires for instant gratification tended to exercise better overall judgment. In turn, such individuals were typically in better emotional health than their more impulsive counterparts. For men, this behavior manifested itself in better exercise habits. For women, better self-control was associated with a higher frequency of fruit/vegetable consumption.
In a University of Kent press release, study coauthor Dr. Adelina Gschwandtner stated that “behavioral nudges that help the planning self to reinforce long-term objectives are likely to be especially helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If a better lifestyle not only makes us healthier but also happier, then it is a clear win-win situation.”
Another study contributor, Uma Kambhampati, explained that promoting healthier diets could have a significant impact on overall public health. “There has been a bigger shift in recent years for healthier lifestyle choices. To establish that eating more fruit and vegetables and exercising can increase happiness as well as offer health benefits is a major development. This may also prove useful for policy campaigns around environment and sustainability.”