Fruit and Vegetable Intake Predicts Positive Affect

Abstract

Prior research suggests that fruit and vegetable intake predicts psychological well-being (WB) when controlled for demographic variables such as age, income and education. Using multiple-item measures and including additional diet and health variables as covariates, the current study assessed self-reported well-being in the past week and daily fruit and vegetable consumption over the past 4 weeks for 1270 university students. Mean positive affect increased linearly as a function of number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables; the pattern of this relationship did not differ significantly for males and females. This association remained statistically significant after controlling for demographic variables (age, sex, and parent education levels); other diet variables (consumption of sugar containing beverages, coffee or tea, and fat); and other health behaviors (exercise, sleep quality and smoking). Life satisfaction and negative affect were not significantly related to fruit and vegetable consumption. Analysis of single-item measures similar to those used in past large scale surveys yielded similar results. Possible reasons for the association of fruits and vegetable consumption with well-being are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Andersen, R., Biltoft-Jensen, A., Christensen, T., Andersen, E. W., Ege, M., Thorsen, A. V., et al. (2014). Dietary effects of introducing school meals based on the New Nordic diet—a randomised controlled trial in Danish children. The OPUS school meal study. British Journal of Nutrition, 11, 1967–1976.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Blanchflower, D. G., Oswald, A. J., & Stewart-Brown, S. (2013). Is psychological well-being linked to the consumption of fruits and vegetables? Social Indicators Research, 114, 785–801.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Booker, C. L., Skew, A. J., Sacker, A., & Kelly, J. (2014). Well-being in adolescence–An association with health-related behaviours: Findings from understanding society, the UK household longitudinal study. Journal of Early Adolescence, 34, 518–538. doi:10.1177/0272431613501082.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Caligiuri, S., Lengyel, C., & Tate, R. (2012). Changes in food group consumption and associations with self-rated diet, health, life satisfaction, and mental and physical functioning over 5 years in very old Canadian men: The manitoba follow-up study. Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 16, 707–712. doi:10.1007/s12603-012-0055-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cappucio, F. G., Rink, E., Perkins-Porras, L., McKay, C., Hilton, S., & Steptoe, A. (2003). Estimation of fruit and vegetable intake using a two-item dietary questionnaire: A potential tool for primary health care workers. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 13, 12–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Carr, A. C., Pullar, J. M., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2013). Beating the blues-The association between fruit and vegetable intake and improved mood. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 126, 131–132.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Christensen, L. (1993). Effects of eating behavior on mood: A review of the literature. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 14, 171–183.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Christensen, L., & Pettijohn, L. (2001). Mood and carbohydrate cravings. Appetite, 36, 137–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Conner, T. S., Brookie, K. L., Richardson, A. C., & Polak, M. A. (2015). On carrots and curiosity: Eating fruit and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in everyday life. British Journal of Health Psychology, 20, 413–427.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Corle, D. K., Sharbaugh, C., Mateski, D. J., Coyne, T., Paskett, E. D., Cahill, J., et al. (2001). Self-rated quality of life measures: Effect of change to a low-fat, high-fiber, fruit and vegetable enriched diet. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 23, 198–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Damsgaard, C. T., Dalskov, S.-M., Petersen, R. A., Sorenson, L. B., Molgaard, C., Biltoft-Jensen, A., et al. (2012). Design of the OPUS school meal study: A randomized controlled trial assessing the impact of serving school meals based on the New Nordic Diet. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 40, 693–703.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Diener, R., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Ekelund, U., Sepp, H., Brage, S., Becker, W., Jakes, R., Hennings, M., & Wareham, N. J. (2006). Criterion-related validity of the last 7-day, short form of the international physical activity questionnaire in swedish adults. Public Health and Nutrition, 9, 258–265.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ford, P. A., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Lee, J. W., Youngberg, W., & Tonstad, S. (2013). Intake of Mediterranean foods associated with positive affect and low negative affect. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 74, 142–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Grant, N., Wardle, J., & Steptoe, A. (2009). The relationships between life satisfaction and health behavior: A cross-cultural analysis of young adults. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 16, 259–268.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Guo, X., Park, Y., Freedman, N., Sinha, R., Hollenbeck, A. R., Blair, A., & Chen, H. (2014). Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression risk. Plos One, 9(4), e94715. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094715.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hallal, P. C., & Victora, C. G. (2004). Reliability and validity of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36, 556.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hedrick, V. E., Savla, J., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Estabrooks, P. A., Nsiah-Kumi, P., et al. (2012). Development of a brief questionnaire to assess habitual beverage intake (BEV-Q 15): Sugar-sweetened beverages and total beverage energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112, 840–849.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kalmbach, D. A., Pillai, V., Roth, T., & Drake, C. L. (2014). The interplay between daily affect and sleep: A 2-week study of young women. Journal of Sleep Research, 23, 636–645.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lengyel, C. O., Obirek, A. K., & Tate, R. B. (2007). The relationship between food group consumption, self-rated health, and life satisfaction of elderly community-dwelling Canadian Males: The manitoba follow-up study. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 21, 350.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness. New York: Penguin Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. McCrae, C. S., McNamara, J. P. H., Rowe, M. A., Dzierzewski, J. M., Dirk, J., Marsiske, M., & Craggs, J. G. (2008). Sleep and affect in older adults: Using multilevel modeling to examine daily associations. Journal of Sleep Research, 17, 42–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. McMartin, S. E., Jacka, F. N., & Colman, I. (2013). The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health disorders: Evidence from five waves of a national survey of Canadians. Preventative Medicine: An International Journal Devoted to Practice and Theory, 56, 225–230.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Mujcic, R. (2014). Are fruit and vegetables good for our mental and physical health? Panel data evidence from Australia. MPRA paper 59149, posted online 8 October 2014 at http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/59149.

  26. National Cancer Institute All Day Fruit and Vegetable Screener, public domain. Retrieved from: http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/diet/screeners/fruitveg/allday.pdf Scoring: http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/diet/screeners/fruitveg/scoring/.

  27. National Cancer Institute Quick Food Scan, public domain, retrieved from: http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/diet/screeners/fat/percent_energy.pdf.

  28. Oyebode, O., Gordon-Dsegu, V., Walker, A., & Mindell, J. S. (2014). Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer, and CVD mortality: Analysis of the health survey for England data. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 68, 856–862.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Pincemail, J., Vanbelle, S., Degrune, F., Cheramy-Bien, J. P., Charlie, C., Chapelle, C., et al. (2011). Lifestyle behaviours and plasma vitamin C and b-carotene levels from the ELAN population (Liege, Belgium). Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 92, 177–184.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Putz, R., Clarke, A., Hamborg, T., & Franco, O. H. (2011). What factors are associated with a validated measure of mental well-being in the general population in Coventry? A stratified random cross sectional survey. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65(supplement), A1–A40.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Rooney, C., McKinley, M. C., & Woodside, J. V. (2013). The potential role of fruits and vegetables in aspects of psychological well-being: A review of the literature and future directions. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 72, 420–432. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003388.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). Achieving sustainable gains in happiness: Change your actions, not your circumstances. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 55–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Smith, A. P., & Rogers, R. (2014). Positive effects of a healthy snack (fruit) versus an unhealthy snack (chocolate/crisps) on subjective reports of mental and physical health: A preliminary intervention study. Frontiers of Nutrition, 1, 1–5. doi:10.3389/fnut.2014.00010.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Sodergren, M., McNaughton, S. A., Salmon, J., Ball, K., & Crawford, D. A. (2012). Associations between fruit and vegetable intake, leisure-time physical activity, sitting time and self-rated health among older adults: Cross-sectional data from the WELL study. BMC Public Health, 12, 551–560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Spring, B., Chiodo, J., & Bowen, D. J. (1987). Carbohydrates, tryptophan, and behavior: A Methodological review. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 234–256.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Steptoe, A., O’Donnell, K., Marmot, M., & Wardle, J. (2008). Positive affect, psychological well-being, and good sleep. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 64, 409–415.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Stranges, S., Samaraweera, P. C., Taggart, F. M., & Stewart-Brown, S. (2014). Major behavioural risk factors and mental wellbeing in the general population: A cross sectional analysis of the health survey for England. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 68(supplement), A3–A84.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Tkach, C., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How do people pursue happiness? Relating personality, happiness-increasing strategies, and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 183–225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Wang, X., Ouyang, Y., Liu, J., Zhu, M., Zhao, G., Bao, W., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Medical Journal,. doi:10.1136/bmj.g4490.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Warner, R. M. (2013). Applied statistics: From bivariate through multivariate techniques (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Warner, R. M., & Rasco, D. (2014). Structural equation models for prediction of subjective well-being: Modeling negative affect as a separate outcome. Journal of Happiness and Well-Being, 2(1), 161–176.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Warner, R. M., & Vroman, K. G. (2011). Happiness inducing behaviors in everyday life: An empirical assessment of “the how of happiness”. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 1063–1082.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. White, B. A., Horwath, C. C., & Conner, T. (2013). Many apples a day keep the blues away–Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18, 782–798.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rebecca M. Warner.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Warner, R.M., Frye, K., Morrell, J.S. et al. Fruit and Vegetable Intake Predicts Positive Affect. J Happiness Stud 18, 809–826 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9749-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Subjective well-being
  • Positive affect
  • Diet
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables