In a study of 80,000 British citizens, led by Dartmouth’s Daniel Blanchflower, it was discovered that those who described themselves as being highly satisfied with their lives also tended to eat more vegetables on a daily basis. “Those who consumed eight or more servings of vegetables daily rated themselves 0.27 points happier, on average, than those who had no servings to speak of. The effect was strongest for those who ate seven servings of produce daily.” Similar results were found in a study done by Blanchflower’s students involving American participants.
What’s the Big Idea?
Blanchflower is careful to note that correlation does not equal causality. It’s not clear whether happier people eat more veggies, or whether eating veggies makes people happier. That said, the pattern remains even when the data is adjusted for income and education. The introduction to the paper says, “[S]o much attention has been paid…to possible links between physical well-being and human diet….Could the nature of food have an important potential role in humans’ psychological [well-being]?”