Fruits And Veggies May Be The Key To Happiness; Eating 8 Portions A Day Increases Life Satisfaction

We are all aware that eating fruits and vegetables can make us healthier, but what about happier? A new study has found evidence to suggest that increasing one’s daily fruit and vegetable consumption can have a direct, positive effect on their overall mood. The team hopes the new findings may be enough to help motivate picky eaters to add more green to their diets.


For the study, now published online in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from Warwick University in England teamed up with scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia to better understand the psychological effects of eating more fruits and vegetables. The international team followed the food and mood diaries of more than 12,000 randomly selected individuals who had taken part in the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey in 2007, 2009, and 2013.

The team adjusted the data for issues that could affect life satisfaction, such as changes in income and personal circumstances. As part of the survey, volunteers were asked to document their weekly fruit and vegetable consumption and their overall life satisfaction. Their responses were then compared over the years to see if there was any correlation between diet and life satisfaction. Even with these factors accounted for, results revealed that increased fruit and vegetable consumption was predictive of increased happiness, life satisfaction, and well being. According to the study, people that changed from eating almost no fruit and veg to having eight portions of fruit and veg a day had a life satisfaction increase equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment.

The researchers aren’t quite sure why eating more fruits and vegetables makes people happier, but they suggest it could be related to the antioxidants found in more healthful foods. For example, one study from 2012 found that individuals with higher levels of antioxidants, known as carotenoids, tended to be more optimistic about the future. Carotenoids are the pigments that give certain fruits and vegetables their coloring, and can be found in carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potato, and kale.

Unfortunately, a major flaw in this study lay in the fact that the researchers measured the volunteers’ carotenoid and optimism levels only once. Because of this, the scientists could not conclude whether eating fruit and vegetables makes you more optimistic, or that optimistic people simply eat more fruits and veggies.

In this new study, the volunteers’ diet and mood were tracked over a period of time. Not only was the increase in happiness noticeable, it was also swift. For example, while it could take decades of healthy eating for dieters to reap certain physical effects, such as preventing cancer, the psychological effects were noted only two years after individuals had increased their fruit and vegetable consumption. The researchers believe that these quick results could be enough to help further urge the public to adopt a healthier diet.

“Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health,” study co-author Dr. Andrew Oswald said in a recent statement. “People’s motivation to eat healthy food is weakened by the fact that physical-health benefits, such as protecting against cancer, accrue decades later. However, well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate.”

However, getting the public to eat more fruits and vegetables is easier said than done. For example, from an evolutionary standpoint, we are more likely to crave “high-calorie” foods such as junk food because this helped to ensure our survival, The Huffington Post reported.

Pair this natural instinct for high-calorie food with the money and effort it takes to cook with fresh produceand it’s clear why so many of us fail to meet the daily quota, around five to nine servings of fruits and veggies. Still, the team hopes that these findings may help motivate us to eat healthier, if not for our physical health, than at least for our mental well being.

Source: Muicic R, Oswald AJ. Evolution of Well-Being and Happiness After Increases in Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables. AJPH. 2016.

Eating 3 Servings Of Whole Grains Reduces Risk Of Early Death By 20%

Oatmeal is considered a necessary evil. People know it’s good for them (albeit many don’t know why), but due to it’s blandness it tends to rank low on their personal list of favorite breakfast meals. Eating oatmeal with fruit, however, not only makes the breakfast staple more palatable, it may also be the secret to a longer life. New research published in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation suggests eating at least three servings of whole grains daily could lower the risk of early death, which may prompt some people to get over their aversion to oatmeal.


Whole grain foods, such as whole wheat, oats, and brown rice, are considered healthy because they contain fiber, a substance that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. In addition to promoting the movement of waste through the digestive system, it also keeps food in the stomach longer, so people feel full and satisfied without consuming a lot of extra calories, according to the AHA. Dietary fiber also helps improve blood cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of stroke and obesity.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis review of 12 studies. These included those published through to February 2016, as well as unpublished results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, conducted rom 1988 to 1994. Combined, the studies involved more than 786,000 people.

The data showed that for every 16-gram serving of whole grains there was a 7 percent decreased risk in early death, a 9 percent decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths, and a 5 percent decline in cancer-related deaths. What’s more, every additional serving of whole grains further lowered this risk. Researchers found that three servings of whole grains was associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of all-cause death, 25 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular deaths, and 14 percent decline in cancer-related deaths.

“Previous studies have suggested an association with consumption of whole grains and reduced risk of developing a multitude of chronic diseases that are among the top causes of deaths, although data linking whole grain intake and mortality were less consistent,” said Dr. Qi Sun, senior author of the study and assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a statement. “These findings lend further support to the U.S. government’s current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which suggest higher consumption of whole grains to facilitate disease prevention.”

Dietary guidelines around the world have recommended whole grains as an essential part of a healthy diet, yet, according to the analysis, people aren’t consuming enough of them. A 2014 study found that only 3 percent of kids and 8 percent of adults ate the recommended three servings or more of whole grains each day.

This isn’t the first time whole grains have been linked to a reduced death risk, a study released last year found that a diet high in whole grains and fiber can lower the risk of early death. According to the AHA, whole grains provide many nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, which are removed during the refining process. However, there is such a thing as having too much. Whole grain foods are high in fiber and consuming too much of this substance can lead to diarrhea, intestinal gas, and blockage.

Source: Zong G, Gao A, Hu F. Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. Circulation. 2016.

Americans Are Drinking Less Soda, Eating More Whole Grains And Nuts

Americans are adding more whole grains, nuts and seeds to their diets and cutting back on sodas and sugary drinks, a U.S. study suggests.

american diet improves

While these changes point to some improvements in U.S. eating habits over the past decade, many people still consume too much sugar and processed food and not enough whole fruits and vegetables, the study published in JAMA found.

“The overall diet is still far from optimal – less than one-third of American adults meet guidelines for most foods,” said senior study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.

“The single biggest focus should be on reducing highly processed foods rich in refined grains, starch, added sugars and salt; and increasing minimally processed healthful foods such as fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, fish and yogurt,” Mozaffarian added by email.

Researchers looked at trends in eating habits for almost 34,000 adults aged 20 or older who participated in seven nationally representative surveys from 1999 to 2012.

The study team scored diets based, among other things, on how well people followed recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) that are designed to help prevent chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease.

Under these guidelines, a healthy diet includes at least 4.5 cups a day of fruits and vegetables, at least three ounces a day of fiber-rich whole grains and at least seven ounces a week of fish. It also caps sodium intake at 1,500 milligrams a day, the amount in three quarters of a teaspoon (3.75 g) of salt, and limits sodas and sugary juices at 36 ounces (1 liter) a week.

Overall, the percentage of Americans with poor diets based on these AHA standards dropped from 56 percent to 46 percent during the study period. The proportion of people with ideal diets was low but inched up to 1.5 percent from less than 1 percent.

Racial disparities in eating habits persisted throughout the study period. The proportion of white people with poor diets declined, while remaining little changed among black and Hispanic adults.

More affluent adults saw greater improvements in diet than lower-income people, the study also found.

For some eating patterns – including consumption of total vegetables, whole grains, unprocessed red meat and milk – trends over time were similar regardless of race, ethnicity, income or education levels. Intake of these things was consistently higher for more affluent people and white people and lower for poor people and black and Hispanic adults.

At the same time, salt intake was unchanged for white people but increased for black and Hispanic people during the study period.

Refined grain consumption dropped for white and black adults while increasing for Hispanics.

Limitations of the study include its reliance on survey participants to accurately recall and report what they ate and drank, as well as the potential for diet fads or food trends in popular culture to influence how people described their diets, the authors note.

Even so, the findings suggest that doctors need to do a better job educating patients about how to eat and how food choices influence their health, Dr. Margo Denke, a former researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas noted in an accompanying editorial.

Physicians also have to recognize that improving diets may be not be just a question of education, but of access and affordability, Denke added by email. While it’s possible some people are confused about what to eat, the bigger problem is that they aren’t sure what to do when fresh produce isn’t at their local store.

“The import of less expensive fruits and vegetables I believe drove improved intake among those who have higher incomes,” Denke said. “How can we pass this on to those who are financially struggling?”

SOURCE: JAMA, online June 21, 2016.

Eat Fiber: Whole Grains Prevent Gut Microbes From Eating Intestine Lining, Increasing Infection Risk


It’s important to add variety to your fiber intake, as different types of fiber work together to maintain optimal digestive health.

We all know fiber is good for your digestive health, but a new study has revealed just how much gratitude we owe to roughage and whole grains. According to the research, fiber also works to help fight against intestinal infection, and without enough of it, the microbes in our gut will begin to consume our gut lining, essentially eating us alive from the inside out.

According to a study now published online in the journal Cell, fiber deprivation causes the gut microbes in mice to begin to eat the mucus lining of their gut. If this deprivation is allowed to continue for too long, it will cause a complete erosion of the gut and may allow invading bacteria to infect the colon wall. According to the researchers, this finding could have implications for possible uses of fiber against the effects of digestive tract disorders.

“The lesson we’re learning from studying the interaction of fiber, gut microbes and the intestinal barrier system is that if you don’t feed them, they can eat you,” explained lead researcher Eric Martens in a recent statement.

For their research, the team transplanted 14 types of bacteria that normally grow in human guts into the intestines of lab mice. As a result, they were able to see the full extent of specific diets on the mice’s gut lining. In doing so, they observed that fiber-less diets were extremely detrimental to the mice’s intestinal health, eating away at the gut lining and allowing for dangerous bacterial infections. What’s more, the same effect was also seen in mice that received a diet rich in prebiotic fiber, a purified form of soluble fiber that is similar to what is found in processed food and supplements.

Martens explained that, although the research was conducted on mice, “the take-home message from this work for humans amplifies everything that doctors and nutritionists have been telling us for decades: Eat a lot of fiber from diverse natural sources.”

You don’t have to down bottles of prune juice in order to ensure you are meeting your fiber quota; there are plenty of easy and arguably more pleasant ways to increase your fiber intake. For example, according to WebMD, switching to whole grain versions of bread, rice, and pasta can be a useful diet tool. In addition, snacking on fruit throughout the day can go a long way, as one banana or a single pear can have up to 4 grams of fiber (that’s the same as one cup of cooked brown rice).

It’s important to add diversity to your fiber intake. For example, fiber comes from a variety of food, such as fruit and veggies, as well as cereal, bread, and even yogurt.

“We can’t expect all fibers to have the same functions, just like we don’t expect all vitamins to have the same functions,” explained Dr. Julie Miller Jones, professor emeritus at St. Catherine University who recently conducted research on American fiber intake.

Mixing different types of naturally occurring fibers will ensure that they work together and be as beneficial as possible.

Source: Desai MS, Seekatz AM, Koropatkin NM, et al. A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades the Colonic Mucus Barrier and Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility. Cell . 2016

Eating More Fruits And Vegetables Improves Well-Being Fast


Strawberries top the list of produce with the most pesticides.

Worried about pesticide levels in your fruit and vegetables? Strawberries contain the most pesticides, while sweet corn and avocados are nearly clean, according to an annual report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). In the EWG’s “2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” 48 types of conventionally grown fruit and vegetables were tested for synthetic chemicals.

Despite washing and even peeling some of the more than 36,000 samples, there was still a total of 178 pesticides found among the produce analyzed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Foods that contained the highest level of pesticides, referred to as the “dirty dozen,” in order were: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes. They all tested positive for a number of different pesticides and had a higher concentration of the synthetic chemicals than other produce.

Strawberries contained at least 20 pesticides.

Produce with the lowest pesticide residue, in order were: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onion, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit.

Only 1 percent of the sweet corn and avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.

If you’re curious how the rest of the produce ranked, check out the full list of rankings here.

So, what do these rankings mean? Should you avoid the conventional produce on the “dirty dozen” list? The Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit organization which represents organic and conventional farmers of fruits and vegetables, says consumers need not worry. They say the information the EWG presents is misleading and their rankings use no scientific process, according to a press release.

Whether you are buying organic or conventional produce, it’s important to handle your food safely. For the healthiest practice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you wash your fruits and vegetables (unless they’re labeled “prewashed”), keep them cold, and separate them from items like raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Fruits And Vegetables Are Just As Important For Your Legs As They Are For Your Heart


Fruits and vegetables are good for legs just as much as hearts. 

You already known that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for the arteries in your heart, but a new study found that it can help reduce blockages in your legs, too.

Researchers studied data from nearly 3.7 million people, whose mean age was 64 years old and found that people who ate at least three servings of fruits and vegetables each day lowered their risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, occurs when the peripheral arteries serving your stomach, arms, head, and most commonly the legs, narrows due to plaque build up.

“Our study gives further evidence for the importance of incorporating more fruits and vegetables in the diet,” lead author Dr. Sean Heffron, instructor at New York University School of Medicine, said in a story on Sci News.

For the study, people across the United States completed questionnaires and medical tests measuring blood pressure in the ankle and forearm. About 6 percent of participants had PAD and 29.2 of participants actually ate three or more servings of produce each day.

“Our study confirmed that Americans’ overall fruit and vegetable intake remains dismally low,” the authors said in Sci News. The team said that the lower risk levels were consistent even after age, gender, race, smoking and cardiovascular risk factors were taken into account.

“Older white women were most likely to eat three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, while younger black men were the least likely to report daily intake of three or more servings of fruits and vegetables,” the authors say in Sci News.

According to the American Heart Association, legs or hips that suffer from cramps, pain, or achiness are common PAD symptoms. Many often don’t realize they have the disease and it goes untreated, which can lead to complications like gangrene, and in extreme cases, amputation. The disease comes with an elevated risk of coronary artery disease, heart attacks or strokes.

Symptoms typically include leg pain, wounds on the feet that don’t heal quickly, lower temperature in your legs or feet, slow nail or hair growth on your feet and erectile dysfunction in men. Certain behaviors and health factors can increase the risk of getting PAD, like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and a family history of heart disease. Mayo Clinic reports that making lifestyle changes, especially giving up smoking, is one of the best measures to lower risk. However, sometimes that just isn’t enough, and medications to prevent blood clots or lower elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels are needed. Exercising regularly can also help improve pain associated with PAD.

Healthy Diet Making You Gassy? 6 Fruits And Vegetables That Cause Stomach Bloating And Smelly Gas

Eating too much of these six fruits and vegetables, from carrots to mangoes, can cause stomach bloating and smelly gas. 

Many of us will try to load up on fruits and vegetables while on a health kick. These colorful foods can do our body good, but they can wreak havoc on our digestive system. It’s not a coincidence that we develop stomach bloating and smelly gas after eating these healthy foods in excess.

It’s not uncommon to experience digestive discomfort when we go through a diet change. Specifically, fruits and vegetables contain a number of nutrients, including oligosaccharides, soluble fiber and natural sugars, like fructose, that can cause excessive gas in the intestines. It’s the breakdown of foods during the digestive process that can lead to passing gas, burping, and gas pains or cramping.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend most adults consume two and a half to three cups of vegetables per day, along with two cups of fruit. Yet, close to 90 percent do not meet vegetable intake recommendations, and over 75 percent do not meet the fruit intake recommendations. However, adding more than the recommended amount to our diet isn’t always healthier.

A 2014 study published in The BMJ found for every portion of fruit and vegetables consumed, there’s a lower risk of premature death; the average risk of death fell about 5 percent for every extra serving, up to five servings per day— after five there’s no further impact. In the U.S. and China, eating more fruits and vegetables was linked with a lower risk of dying from any cause, especially heart disease.

When it comes to fruit and vegetable intake, moderation is key.

Below are six foods that cause bloating and gas, from carrots to mangoes.


This gas culprit contains a natural sugar, known as oligosaccharide, which the human body cannot completely break down. These large molecules are not digested in the same way as other sugars because the human body does not make the enzyme that breaks them down. Instead, they make their way through the digestive tract to the large intestine intact and not digested, waiting to be broken down by bacteria in the intestine. It is this process that produces smelly gas.


Carrots are one of the healthiest foods that provide us with essential vitamins and minerals. However, eating too many carrots can leave us with uncomfortable side effects, like veggie bloat. A cup of raw carrots contains about 12 grams of carbohydrates with 4 of these grams being fiber. High-fiber vegetables, like carrots, cause gas because bacteria within the colon produces it as a by-product of its digestion of fiber.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are excellent sources of vitamin C and fiber, but they can also make us feel bloated and gassy. Cruciferous vegetables contain the complex sugar known as “raffinose,” which makes it difficult to digest for people with a sensitive stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic. These vegetables not only cause flatulence, they also produce an odiferous smell.


This popular fruit is filled with antioxidants, especially green apples. However, apples are loaded with fructose, or fruit sugar, which can be tough on a sensitive stomach. Fructose requires no digesting; they are already broken down into the simplest form the body can absorb. However, when fructose doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall, it is sent down the bowels and consumed by bad bacteria that make by-products, like methane and hydrogen gas, causing bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and bad breath.


The antioxidant-rich fruit is packed with polyols, the main component in sugar substitutes, also known as sugar alcohols. Polyols linger around the digestive system, and are only partly absorbed by the small intestine. The remaining polyols pull water into the small and large bowel and are then fermented by intestinal bacteria, leading to excessive gas.


This sweet fruit contains more fructose than glucose, which makes it difficult for fructose to be absorbed by the body. This imbalance can lead to bloating and flatulence. Moreover, fructose is sweeter than glucose, which can make it more difficult to digest for those with gut issues.

Remember, eating these healthy foods in excess will make your stomach hurt.

Aspartame turns into formaldehyde and methanol in the body

Did you know that Aspartame literally turns into formaldehyde and methanol inside your body?

It breaks down into, according to one paper, “phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%) and methanol (10%) during metabolism in the body. The excess of phenylalanine blocks the transport of important amino acids to the brain contributing to reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin.”

Well put by another paper,  “Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener that has been linked to pediatric and adolescent migraines. Upon ingestion, aspartame is broken, converted, and oxidized into formaldehyde in various tissues.”

Aspartame is toxic

5 academic papers are cited in this video, showing exactly what Aspartame does to the body, including one study that plays devil’s advocate, and honestly fails.

Aspartame, as methanol can cause blindness, is linked to deterioration of vision, several cancers, and a litany of other ills. One chemical Aspartame breaks down into in your body, aspartic acid, acts as an excitotoxin.

Rumsfeld pressured FDA into legalizing aspartame

This video explains what Aspartame really does, and how two time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld almost single-handedly pressured the FDA into legalizing it for the pharmaceutical corporation Searle.

Watch the video discussion. URL:


Here’s what happens to your body when you stop eating carbs

Low-carb and no-carb ketogenic diets like South Beach and Atkins, for example, are all the rage these days. But what does cutting carbs actually do for your body? This is what the science says.

Cheese does not increase risk of heart attack or strokes, find researchers

Review of 29 studies involving nearly a million participants finds saturated fats ‘do not increase risk of cardiovascular disease’


The belief that cheese is bad for you is wrong, researchers have said, after finding no link between eating dairy products and a heightened risk of heart attack and strokes.

Even full-fat cheese, milk and yoghurt, often avoided by the health-conscious due to their high saturated fat content, does not increase the risk of death or conditions such as coronary heart disease, according to a review of 29 different studies involving nearly a million participants.

“There’s quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception,” said researcher Ian Givens, a nutrition professor at Reading University.

“While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong,” he told The Guardian.

“There’s been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they don’t.”

NHS guidelines suggest people cut the amount of saturated fat they eat, because a diet high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Men are recommend to eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day, and women no more than 20g. This sounds like bad news for cheese lovers – if two people share a whole baked 250g camembert, for instance, they will both consume around 19g of saturated fat.

But overall levels of dairy consumption did not appear to be associated with an increased risk of circulatory conditions such as stroke and heart attacks, according to the study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

The research analysed results from previous studies carried out over the last 35 years, using information on the health and diet of 938,465 participants.

Assorted cheeses

Scientists are divided on whether limiting saturated fats can improve overall health and lower the risk of heart disease.

A study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal(BMJ) swapping even one per cent of your daily calorie intake from saturated fats like butter and meat to vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates or polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil and fish can improve heart health.

However, previous research from the University of Bergen in Norway found fatty foods such as cheese, butter and cream could in fact help protect people from heart disease when eaten as part of a diet where overall calorie intake is restricted.

Simon Dankel, who led the study, told The Independent in December the research showed the human body “can do perfectly well with fats as its main energy source.”

“People will say: ‘you can’t lose weight, you can’t go on any diets with saturated fats, no matter what’,” said Dr Dankel.

“But in this context, we see a very positive metabolic response. You can base your energy in your diet on either on carbohydrates or fat. It doesn’t make a big difference.”

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF)’s website, eating too much cheese “could lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease”, and the organisation recommends people “enjoy it sensibly”.

“Saturated fat can increase the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in your blood which can cause fatty material to build up in your artery walls. The risk is particularly high if you have a high level of bad cholesterol and a low level of good cholesterol,” says the organisation.


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