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How Many Servings of Fruits and Vegetables to Improve Mood?

“Thousands of papers have been published on the important topic of what determines people’s subjective well-being and psychological health,” but what about the potential influence of the different kinds of foods people eat? I explore this in my video Which Foods Increase Happiness?.

“The rising prevalence of mental ill health is causing considerable societal burden. Inexpensive and effective strategies are therefore required to improve the psychological well-being of the population….A growing body of literature suggests that dietary intake may have the potential to influence psychological well-being.” Dietary intake of what? Well, given the strong evidence base for the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, researchers started there.

Cross-sectional studies from all over the world support this relationship between happiness and intake of fruits and vegetables. Those eating fruits and vegetables each day have “a higher likelihood…of being classified as ‘very happy,’” suggesting “a strong and positive correlation between fruit and vegetable consumption and happiness” and perhaps feelings of optimism, too.

The largest such study was done in Great Britain, where “a dose-response relationship was found between daily servings of [fruits and vegetables] and both life satisfaction and happiness,” meaning more fruits and veggies meant more happiness. People who got up to seven or eight servings a day “reported the highest life satisfaction and happiness,” and these associations remained significant even after controlling for factors such as income, illness, exercise, smoking, and body weight, suggesting fruit and vegetable consumption didn’t just act as a marker for other healthy behaviors.

But how could eating plants improve happiness on their own? Well, many fruits and veggies contain higher levels of vitamin C, which is “an important co-factor in the production of dopamine,” the zest-for-life neurotransmitter. And, the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables reduce inflammation, which may lead “to higher levels of eudaemonic well-being.”

Eudaemonic? What’s that? “Aristotle’s notion of eudaemoniadescribed the highest of all human goods as the realization of one’s true potential,” which was the aim of a study: Researchers wanted to know whether eating fruits and vegetables was “associated with other markers of well-being beyond happiness and life satisfaction.” So, they tested whether consuming fruits and veggies was associated with “greater eudaemonic well-being—a state of flourishing characterized by feelings of engagement, meaning, and purpose in life.”

The researchers followed a sample of about 400 young adults for 13 days, and, indeed, the young adults who ate more fruits and veggies “reported higher average eudaemonic well-being, more intense feelings of curiosity, and greater creativity.” This could be followed on a day-by-day basis: greater well-being on the days they ate healthier. “These findings suggest that [fruit and vegetable] intake is related to other aspects of human flourishing, beyond just feeling happy.”

Not so fast, though. Instead of eating good food leading to a good mood, maybe the good mood led to eating good food. Experimentally, if you put people in a good mood, they rate healthy foods, like apples, higher than indulgent foods, like candy bars. Given a choice between M&M’s and grapes, individuals in a positive mood were more likely to choose the grapes. The results of these studies “lend support to a growing body of research that suggests that positive mood facilitates resistance to temptation.” Who needs comfort foods when you’re already comforted? It’s like which came first, the stricken or the egg? Yes, eating eggs may increase our likelihood of chronic disease, but maybe chronic disease also increases our likelihood of eating unhealthy foods. Which came first, the mood or the food?

If only there were a study that, instead of looking at well-being and diet on the same day, looked to see if there’s a correlation between what you eat today and how you feel tomorrow.

There is. In the study, researchers found the same “strong relationships between daily positive [mood] and fruit and vegetable consumption.” Additionally, “[l]agged analyses showed that fruit and vegetable consumption predicted improvements in positive [mood] the next day, not vice versa…On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally do…[and] also felt more positive the next day.” So, eating fruits and vegetables really “may promote emotional well-being.” Single bouts of exercise can elevate one’s mood, so why not the same with healthy food?

How many fruits and vegetables? Seems we “need to consume approximately 7.2 daily servings of fruit or 8.2 servings of vegetables to notice a meaningful change” in mood.


For more on this topic, I invite you to watch Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood & Productivity.

I mentioned in passing the benefits of exercise for boosting mood, and here is more on maximizing movement:

Sadly, there are 20 times more studies published on health and depression than there are on health and happiness. There is growing interest in the so-called positive psychology movement, though. See my video Are Happier People Actually Healthier? for more.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


65 responses to “How Many Servings of Fruits and Vegetables to Improve Mood?

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      1. The relevant context of use here is nutrition studies and recommendations.
        When nutritionists give advice on what to eat e.g. Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, they use somewhat imprecise but more or less standardized definitions of what amount counts as a serving, depending on the food, e.g.
        a serving of beans is 1/2 cup, a serving of orange is, as I recall, one medium orange. If what you said were true in the field of nutrition, what the study investigated and what Dr. Gregor reported on, e.g. 7.2 servings of fruit, would have no meaning! In other words, in these kinds of discussion, a ‘serving of X’ means a ‘serving of X of size S’, not some arbitrary portion you put on your plate.

      2. Navy, A serving is not how much you put on your plate, a serving is usually defined as a 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, or a cup of fruit or raw vegetables.
        If you want to be precise there is information on exact grams in a serving of a particular food.
        Doe it matter that few people eat like that? Maybe they should?

    1. ‘British hens aggs’ ………… what are the odds that this study was funded by some British egg industry organisatiion?

      Apparently, however, it was a magazine article authored by a couple of ‘freelance dietitians’ and published in some online publication targeting UK health professionals. The magzine is full of adverts for foodstuffs, formulas and supplements. There was no list of sources cited in the artice, no conflict of interest/financial disclosures statement and no indication that it went through a credible peer review process. A credible study would be publised in a credible journal . This wasn’t.
      https://issuu.com/nhpublishingltd/docs/issue_137_digital?e=14357770/63708027

      You’re scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one, Greg. I’d suggest that people revisit Dr G’s videos about eggs if they want a reasonable analysis of the data on eggs and health by a medical professional who actually cites the sources used.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=egg

      Alternatively, if they want anothet thoughtful analysis by a medical professional who is not a strict vegetarian (AKA – wrongly – ‘vegan’), they could visit Dr Mirkin’s site

      ‘Nobody really knows whether or not eating eggs is safe. We have studies showing that people who eat more than five eggs a week have increased risk for diabetes and breast and colon cancer, but the studies show only that eating eggs is associated with these conditions. We have no studies that show that eggs cause disease in humans.’
      .http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/eggs-new-review-of-studies.html

      He appears to think that a couple of eggs a week may be safe. Indeed it would be possible to include a couple of eggs a week in a WFPB diet. For somebody who doesn’t take supplements eggs would at least provide some B12 and other B vitamins and some vitamin D. However, note that the US NIH advises everybody over 50 to take B12 supplement or eat B12 fortified food because the B12 in meat, fish, diary, eggs etc is inadequately absored in may people over 50.

  1. I notice that eating fruits and Veggies improve my mood. I don’t eat the # of servings required, but will
    try. Can eating eggs lead to chronic disease? Also, is it acceptable to eat non-organic avacados,
    and bananas, thick skinned fruits? Do bananas cause inflammation?

    1. Dr. Greger has a lot of videos on eggs and I highly recommend that you watch them. The nurses’ study, I think one egg per week increased mortality, but those are videos I haven’t watched for several months, so don’t trust me. Bad gut bacteria use the choline in eggs to contribute to things like Cancer is another one I can only do a simple paraphrase on. Something about TMAO, I think. Sorry that I am not giving you a clearer answer. Go to topics and watch the egg videos.

      Avocados are #1 for the Clean 15 for 2018, so it should be okay.

      https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean-fifteen.php

      Here are the Dirty Dozen.

      https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

      Bananas are something which people discuss from both directions. Most of the pesticides are on the peel, which you don’t eat, but some of it gets into the soil. If you eat a lot of bananas every day, then consider organic.

    2. Here are just a few sentences about eggs from this site:

      “And, men who consume two and a half or more eggs per week—basically an egg every three days—may have an 81 percent increased risk of dying from prostate cancer.”

      “Even just a single egg a week may increase the risk of diabetes…”

  2. I have a question(s) with regard to all this research, some of which I believe and some I am not yet convinced about. If I may have the liberty of making a few assumptions first: I think more people who lean to the left politically, are more apt to be health and environmentally more conscious. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, the left also controls 90% of the media. The left is also more apt to protest, march, and riot for their causes. I am not trying to divide this board with politics. But I am curious as to why the left is not using its powerful resources to get the word out about all this information that is provided on “NutritionFacts.org.” I would think that by now, there would no longer be any Bar-B-Q’s being sold in stores, the ability of food manufacturer’s using various words to hide the different types of sugars in foods and drinks. The ability to not fully explain every ingredient in every chemical cleaner that we buy and why aren’t they having protests and parades against eating all meats? You would think that by now, there would not be any fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide, etc.., manufacturer’s left in this country. Why aren’t they speaking out more about farmed fish?

    Even though the left has a varying power position in Washington politics, the media has their back ALL the time. Why is this message board limiting the information to only those who happen to stumble across it? Every week on “60 Minutes” there should be a new discussion about these topics. Why does the FDA operate the way it does with all kinds of meds being allowed to market with devastating side effects, yet it won’t get involved in herbal supplements? Is the left more on the “take” than the right? The left has the power and ability to put an end to all of this.

    1. Your answers may be found in the lack of your basic foundational premesis…the media is owned lock stock and barrel by corporations, not by the left nor left leaning individuals. Things that do not affect the bottom line such as equal rights for minority populations and equal rights for all those of differing gender based bias are readily allowed.
      So this is considered our only place where we may hold viable differences. Other issues are allowed such as global warming and medicare for all, only when the call for their coverage is so overwhelming it cannot be any longer ignored. Our foreign policy in mass media is invariably only speaking with one voice dems and reps reported on.

      Things that may affect the bottom line like unionization and restrictions on American global empire such as defense spending are simply not allowed to prevail in mainstream mass media.

      Nutrition affects the bottom line so it is not allowed to be discussed openly and fairly. Corporations of the food industry are very important power brokers in American politics and then in reflection in mass media. Corporations own the media not leftists.

      1. The coverage in American mass media of labor day as opposed to veterans day is quite conspicious of that. Veterans day has a usually full week ramp up with stories on vets and good things they have done to protect us…and probably rightfully so.

        Labor day was created directly in response to unions and workers rights. I suppose there were some stories buried way deep in some paper somewhere. But main stream week long build up and good coverage of the history of it and why it became a holiday….not to be found.
        Military protects us and is a good. But a military this large and everywhere more so protects corporation. And labor in a organized fashion is in general their opponent.

        So mass media reflects corporate bias. Little is covered labor day.

        1. Our politicians are generally now, since citizens united, always representing corporate interest as that is where they get the majority of their funds to run campaigns

          The only way around this conundrum, since they make the laws, is to support for elected office those who disavow corporate donation. Then and only then will we see change. And then the media will likely follow suit and start to represent things in a more equal way without bias or suffer government action. Action which will force that upon them by enforcing no monopoly clauses to ownership which once were present but is now removed.

          A republican back in the day Teddy R started all that antimonopoly stuff. Now it is all about gone.

      2. ” Corporations own the media”

        Is Consumers Report a media company? The last two magazines were all about how more veg improves health and meat has a shit tonne of drugs…
        I don’t know if eating lots of veg improves your mood but I’m doing so good I can’t stand it!!!
        mitch

        1. 90 to 10. Or for every one story displaying the problems with a normal American diet 9 can and will be produced showing no effect little effect or unknown effect..
          Wiki stats on media ownership
          ” Recent media mergers in the United States[edit]
          Over time the amount of media merging has increased and the number of media outlets has increased. As a result, fewer companies now own more media outlets, increasing the concentration of ownership.[8] In 1983, 90% of US media was controlled by 50 companies; as of 2011, 90% was controlled by just 6 companies and in 2017 the number was 5.[91] ”

          Public owned outlets have as donors corporations with no limit on amounts donated.To add. Rare is the mass media outlet devoid of corporate influence.
          Alternative media..sure.

    2. Jack, A lot of the inconsistencies in our perceptions of the “Left” are because they have hidden their real agenda very well, with the help of the media and their other “information” outlets that they have infiltrated since WWII, (school systems and in particular, universities). There are now a couple of generations of misinformed people. You and others who care might want to see the recent documentary movie: “The Death of a Nation” produced by Dinesh D’Souza, an immigrant from India.

      1. But we cannot devolve truths like these.. our corporate media 90% of its content is controlled by five companies when as little as 30 years ago it was 50.

        And couple that with the fact corporation will not cannot, legally serve the interests other than of its shareholders, and one can firmly see national media holds no progressive bias. If one considers the dems to be liberal, one could say they hold that bias at times. But they are firmly not progressive or what was called liberal in earlier days. Nor are the reps firmly conservative or what was called that in earlier day.w Both are sounding a similar tune, favorance to those who by majority donate to campaign.

        The food industry is firmly entrenched in corporate America and it thus holds a fundamental bias.
        Just reading through my state government listed phone numbers, there is no veggie industry or grain industry..but beef is firmly there by name.New Mexico beef council, a state department of state government listed under state governement phone numbers And this is firmly a democratically run state that is liberal in most social issues. In corporation it is firmly representing corporation, in this specific the beef industry.
        A conservative state conservative on social issues if they house cattle, one will find the same equilivent present in their state government.

        So perhaps look to progressives or populists to find any feedback against corporate dominance of the display of science on nutrition. Libs cons, dem reps…largly not in todays times. Corporations want us eating the unhealthy things, it is what they are sellingfor most profit.

        1. Just checked….
          New Mexico has our beef council as part of our government a liberal state on social issues , so checked another far right state far right on social issues, that is also involved with cattle Wyoming..”The Wyoming Beef Council (WBC) was established in 1971 to serve as the promotion, research and education arm of the Wyoming beef industry. The Council is comprised of five members, who are appointed by Wyoming’s Governor. ”

          As far as nonpartisan or both parties in favor….they both distinctly represent corporation quite handily in most all aspects.
          Justice Stevens a firmly right leaning supreme court justice versed the contrary opinion to citizens united in his opinion. In his conclusion he does in fact mention Theodore R and a earlier form of conservativism which is not this thing before us today.

          Want to see a challenge to media bias on nutrition again I say…vote for peoples of any persuasion that refuses to accept donation from corporations and we may actually start the ball rolling….till then we fight eachother on social issues and basically spend our time spitting into the wind on other things which really more generally affect us all.

          1. Ron,

            Perhaps I didn’t make my point clear enough. (My fault). What I was trying to ask was, why aren’t there MORE grass roots organizations trying to get the word out MORE often. If people would simply stop buying certain products and foods, because of they way they are developed and grown, the corporations would have to change their ways or lose money. Are you saying that the biggest offender corporations are paying the left wing media to keep these issues quiet? Are you saying that the left wing media are subsidiaries of these same offending corporations? Thanks for your replies.

            1. The control of media is through editorial control of content. Basically the reporters tend progressive and the representative of management the editors tend corporatist.
              The selection of what stories go where, their considered priority, in print and visual media, is a determinant of the editors. And the editors adjust for content removing things which may cause problems or lead in their considered untoward ways.

              There is a commonality in interest in corporations. This is a affect of the commonality of board structure members. A person like Warren Buffet may hold positions on 20 or so corporations in the role of board member. And he conveys his opinions not on just the one corporation he is sitting on, at he moment, but on the whole of his membership
              Buffet is a extreme example but quite often a board member on say kraft foods may also hold a membership on another such as Altria…so there is commonality. With this commonality comes concerted focused interest.

              So they function usually as one with one voice and overall direction. Then we find seemingly unrepresented industry such as communication, supporting say the beef industry, as they hold interest not directly but in a functional manner. Which has representatives of the beef industry being common within a third party corporate board common to both communication and the beef industry.
              So thus unity of purpose arises.

              I ran into this specific way back in the day trying to determine in study how the media of that day seemed not to show tobacco in a negative light when media was not owned by big tobacco interest. There were many carryovers, those who served in common in third party corporate boards with both media board members and tobacco board members.

              So arose the lack of big media concern over tobacco when the science in that day was pointed directly to a problem(before the statements by the fed government).
              The commonality arises due to board structure and membership and never do we need to or see overt control or censorship as the result is self censorship.

              What you may be calling left wing media is not progressive media but that representing views which are left wing but not of concern or import to corporation. Issues like roe vs wade nfl players kneeling are not things of concern for them. We are allowed these as they serve to distract and we do tend to get consumed by them and their tiny aspects of application and forget the rest in their consideration.

              The bigger issues such as defense installations in a hundred countries, 700 plus billion for defense, bases in Germany and Japan and things of this sort, per one example…are little allowed for priority. Things like a presidents tendency to tweet are way way over reported as it basically a diversion from policy. The policies are not wanted to be in the open and subject for our discussion. Never overtly censored but covertly put on the third page. Foreign policies completely absurd decisions and rationals are allowed as the subjects are rarely allowed for total discussion. But we may examine a first lady wearing a t shirt and what it means to no end…and on and on,

              Both parties are representing corporate interest. Their lack of ability to refuse those corporate donation to campaign speaks directly to that. Though one will pay lip service to the ideal hardly a one is willing to actually refuse corporate money.

              What you find as to media representation on things of nutrition are those things which will create a atmosphere of uncertainity to the thing. Which was similar to the corporate tact on tobacco back in the day. With time and effort tobacco became to widely known to be accepted as not harmful but the tact itself served for several decades to dilute opposition. So is the opposition to good nutrition and good nutritional study now.

              To much junk science is reported and widely reported to allow and broad grass roots campaign to exist and sustain.
              Similar to climate change really. We the progressive side lost that, we won tobacco. Climate change is now being allowed as it is so far gone only a technological solution will remedy it. So the corporations will gradually allow climate change, the idea, to exist, as corporation will create and sell to governements climate change remediation hardware carbon scrubbers paid for by tax dollars.
              So corporate goals are realized. They at large will benefit greatly by this tact. While the specific energy companies may individually suffer they will through means of corporation become a part of the remediation efforts which will bring great profits.
              Corporation in general the total will greatly enhance. And as there is common board membership the loss to exon mobile becomes a gain to apple who may design software to help manage the issue. As a board member holds common interest and membership in both there is loss in one area but then gain in another,,,,a wash.
              The names seem to loose value and do. But the ownership, the control, of those, never looses value nor diminishes. Corporate commonality makes a commonality exist in a functional manner as per asset retention. The money just flows from one to the other with time. None in control looses a thing..

              It is quite complex as to diet and beef or meat. Suffice it to say they want this present state and for it to continue and expand throughout the world. This will result in untoward amounts of increased global warming which will confound any efforts to stop it.
              For every group against it on a grassroots level, will be created a parallel to work against it.

              For every group perhaps exposeing a heinous manner of production of meat will arise a law in a state to prohibit the photographing of that thing and its representation in media.

              At every level the grassroots will be devolved by means such as these usually with government as effective tool. Media simply enforces the tact by direct effort of editorial control of content.

              In fact with the allowance of diverse internet speeds by pay, now allowed, the media concerns who own now 90% of content, are making a attempt to expand that to perhaps 98% of content. Devolving what is now called the alternate media available on internet dependent sites such as you tube and similar by a pay for play or use of bandwidth .IN time only the big players will exist able to display content in a fast manner. The rest will simply not have the money to pay for it.

              Censorship of content in existant platforms such as facebook twitter and the like is already occurring and in this the water is just being tested. Overt censorship is in the cards. Grassroots from liberals..if you mean dems or conservatives they are one and the same corporatists. If you mean progressives…well I hope so, but the cards seem distinctly against that.
              The dems absolutely will not support such things. Bill Clinton completely disengaged his vegan diet when Hilliary started her run..For health…I think not. Corporate donation from the processed and meat lobbies could not be garnished with Bill as vegan.
              So it is.

              1. Here is a example of one of the players and his opinions on meat…https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Should-We-Eat-Meat

                from his own blog Bill Gates, firmly in support of it.
                How is that connected to Microsoft a computer software company, his charity owns very many interests that are favored by this specific. Who will feed the billions more cattle that a transition to beef in the third world will necessitate…..the only way to enable that is with use of GMO’s.(many crops of many varieties are consumed by cattle not people in majority) Bill Gates by name but really corporate interest he represents. GMO is now his thing.

                There is a commonality of interest in seemingly disparate or not at all involved corporate interests…..Microsoft and GMO’s and beef production.
                Bill Gates also sponsors a GMO product that is a veggie burger miracle burger…..attesting to again… commonality. There is one common thing…overall corporate interest enhancement effect. Miracle burger being a GMO product is used to show in the progressive nutrition type subgroup considered…the safety of GMO’s which is receiving resistance.(but it is a thing that is a piece of garbage nutritionally)
                And miracle burger, that maker, states, he one BG funded… it is created to devolve global warming and stop harm to animals. But Bill Gates who funds them says meat is the answer….

                The only answer to these seemingly contradictory opinions and actions is when the commonality of corporate interest is considered. Available as mentioned because of commonality of content(people) in board constituency globally.
                It is not that every board member is this. It is that of the majors, the multinationals, one always is and this serves the purpose.
                No one is surpressing anything, but the means are there for a mode or pattern of action to ensue….corporatism is the inistigator.

                  1. Here are Bill Gates specific comments from his blog not a decade ago but three years ago..

                    “More countries are sure to follow, and that’s a good thing. Meat is a great source of high-quality proteins that help children fully develop mentally and physically. In fact part of our foundation’s health strategy involves getting more meat, dairy, and eggs into the diets of children in Africa.”

                    How… through GMO’s increased production of cattle feeds. Which his charity has ownership interest in. Buffet per example of earlier point, has significant money interest as well in the Gates charitable foundation. The idea of owners of varying concerns being in opposition to one another or not connected is simply not a well thought one.
                    And before someone claims foundation of charity to be out of bounds… consider possibly the actions and decisions of one other charity, the Clinton foundation prior to its dissolution after the scandles that arose subsequent to it.

                    Supporting a west African fertilizer contribution corporation donation from a nation who has been dominated and used as colony by a neighbor for extraction of resources. This being stolen from them as we speak condemned by the UN. But not abstract from donation to foundation.
                    Speaking for a liberal view…think not that firmly who else could not draw exception to colony status in this time and day but a one totally about corporatism. One side claims not that the other side say they are…both are in the end all about that. And food really dwarfs all other corporate interest.

                    1. To add one progressive just tonight won a primary in the dem party and will run unopposed in the general.

                      The one foundational difference in her as opposed to her ten term winning opponent (though the national media is painting this as a gender race thing)….she refused corporate pac donations and he accepted them. On policy they are very similar with this exception.

                      So there is hope…perhaps It is really all about that…who takes their money and who does not…as simple as that.Race color gender religion are not the things that matter now it is this.

        2. Must be part of the Deep State, obviously under the control of the Big Bad Left! Feel sorry for the poor, underserved, impotent Far Right.

          1. Gengo

            Put your tinfoil hat back on! Now!

            People want an excuse to keep on eating the foods they enjoy. And if somebody in a white coat tells them that beef, eggs etc etc are healthy, they are inclined to believe it. Some people in white coats are not averse to making money and are quite happy to write best-selling books that cobble together reasons why it could be true. Dr McDougall once remarked that after his first book or two his publishers pressed him to write books tapping in to the latest fad diet trendsat the time (hgh fat diets I think). He refused as a matter of principle but I suspect that a number of other best selling medical authors aren’t quite as principled.

            As for people working in these business, and people with financial ties to those industries 9such as politicians0, it is hard to argue with Upton Sinclair’s observation that ‘It Is Difficult to Get a Man to Understand Something When His Salary Depends Upon His Not Understanding It’
            https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/11/30/salary/

    3. There are countries in the world other than the USA.

      Fron China to Iran and from North Korea to Syria. Then there is the World Health Organization. I am not aware that left wing countries like North Korea or the ‘socialists’ in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe are any more vegetarian than anybody else.

      I think you overestimate the interest of the left in nutitional issues My long-time British friends are all left-leaning devotees of politicalcorrectness (poor sods). I am slightly to the right of Attila the Hun, politically. Yet I am a strict vegetarian and they all scarf down BBQ’d meats, cheese, fish, eggs etc. My impression too is that most liberal ‘vegans’ are that way for ethical and/or environmental reasons. many appear to have little interest in the nutrition and health aspects.

      In brief, then, I think you are overgeneralising on this and the real story is much more complicated.

      1. Well I distinctly remember being a low level elected official of the ‘liberal” considered party for many years…. them never ever thinking to have a addition of any thing which was not typical meat involved dishes at the various gatherings. They would presuppose me from the moon perhaps, if I was to voice objection. And all in all, that was not all that long ago, ten years or so.
        I personally find the interior of politics, the peoples who really run things to be in almost total opposition to me in fundamental philosophy.

        I myself however do not consider the health aspects predominate. Yet I do consider myself progressive which involves the admission of the health benefits of this relatively newly introduced thing to western society. Most party regulars are anything but progressive, seeking only a means to power.

        A inclusion perhaps is India, who under Modi are going actually more vegetarian as a expression of indian nationalism. Combining a considered conservative ideal, nationalism, with a considered liberal diet, vegetarianism. Vegetarian being a considered hindu expression and thus nationalistic as hindu is majority indian.

        India in ideal at least, was once upon conception firmly a socialist state. But that was adverse to overt nationalism. Now it is more vegetarian but also more nationalistic and less socialist in leaning. Which I expect will change with time as things tend to do. In the initial in India much a to do was being made over the slaughter of cattle as other religion is inclined to do.

        China since the cultural revolution has adhered to mayahanan buddhism as superior to therevadan buddhism in mass Chinese media, as a expression of china nationalism as that was its historical kind in China.But that has little translated to diet.
        M being vegetarian biased as opposed to T being not so much. So it is quite complex the evolution and reasons for this thing as politically involved.

  3. Isn’t one serving equal to a 1/2 cup?
    Therefore approximately 3.5 cups of fruit and about 4 cups of vegetables daily
    Am I right or wrong? What

    1. Serving size depends on the food and whether a it is cooked or raw, e.g. a serving of raw leafy greens is 1 cup, cooked 1/2 cup. Fruit varies considerably.

      Note though that Dr. Greger’s statement separated fruits from vegetables: “7.2 daily servings of fruit **OR** 8.2 servings of vegetable”. What combination of fruits and vegetables would provide similar results was simply not addressed.

      1. Interesting point about cooked vs. raw
        Does Dr. Greger make that distinction in the daily dozen? Wish he had clarified what he meant by a serving.

  4. Yes, but this already makes me happy and it makes me more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, so there is a pre-placebo effect happiness bump of sorts.

    1. Not trying to disagree with the studies, but there would seem likely to be a “I am doing something good for me.” “I am doing what my mother told me to do.” “I don’t feel as guilty, because of doing the wrong thing all the time.” etc. involved at some level, right? Maybe memories of being a child. Maybe pride or a sense of accomplishment from having become an adult who lives a disciplined lifestyle. Less fear of disease. Less guilt for serving the kids junk. Finally, doing what the doctor said or what the government standards are or no longer doing the thing, which made the father figure lecture or yell at them as a child as obeying authority figures. etc. It just seems like it is psychologically harder, because of the things it represents.

      1. I say that thoughtfully because I would also like to see if there is a negative effects study from something like saturated fats, for instance.

        My Keto friends are in an “I am smarter than everybody else and feel great about it type of happiness right now.” and I don’t mean that to be a negative sentence. It is a state that I am trying to not go into as I learn more.

        I feel like it is because of the teachings, which they watched, which make fun of other types of eating.

        They are a little bit superior for having found the right way of doing things and they feel good about it and want other people to know that they are doing things wrong.

        The soy police, the anti-cyano B-12 police, the anti-gluten police, the keto police. All of it has a type of happiness from doing the perceived right thing.

        I do believe that the vegetables have a bump above that because of the nutrition and phytonutrients and effects on the neurotransmitters, but each diet and the supplements also seems to have a psycho-babble “I know something you don’t know” happiness factor involved.

        1. I know….

          They could tell people that they were giving them fruits and vegetables with pesticides to test to see if they were obesigenic.

          But then give them organic and see if the brain changes how happy it gets.

          1. I like the psychology ones.

            My father and brothers and coworker would be making fun of it as pseudoscience and would have a point because you can’t really separate it from having people be told it is good for them over and over again & because it was dealing with “feelings” and “moods” and that is hard to be objective about.

            I like the studies better when they do things like give people nutrition after a tragedy, like a spree shooting and a year later they have less PTSD.

            I think that was a Ted Talk example of nutrition and mental health.

            I am going to be able to answer the question soon, because last Summer, I was on lots of fruits and vegetables. Then, during this whole process, I started eating whole grains and starches – things like potatoes, pasta, rice, beans, Ezekiel bread and ended up stopping eating the other fruits and vegetables, and now I am back to my superfood wrap.

            1. When I switched to more starches, I felt fuller, but I eventually started craving sweets, which had stopped when I brought the fruits and vegetables in.

              I will get to see if the fruits and vegetables stop me from having sweet cravings again.

              I also stopped losing weight as fast and plateaued. Maybe, because I stopped walking my dog.

  5. Anyway, it is about time for the rise of the vegetable police.

    Laughing, because I don’t like living in an opinion police state.

    The church I went to, which I loved for a decade, had the pastor retire and a young man took over and his messages were: Joke about how he was better than everybody else. Followed by a joke about how everybody else was worse than he was. I can’t even explain it, but that culture won the election and I am so perplexed at how many people respond to that culture. The superior stepford culture police.

  6. And what would a “CUP”‘s definition be? These days CUPs come in various forms. Tea Cup, Some small bowls are also considered cups, Jelly cup? So unless someone can come up with a proper definition of “CUP” then we will know what the proper serving sizes would be.

  7. I like how you linked the next video to this blog entry.

    Very nice flow.

    As far as happiness though, I had already been happy every day that my dog ate my vegetables. Gut microbiome or Placebo effect?

    The vet still hasn’t contacted me with the lab results from last weeks tests and I have decided not to contact him this time.

    I am more interested in looking at my dog himself.

    I went down to the lower dosage of steroids and up on the CBD oil and that seems to be having a better result in the slipping. He was able to get up off the floor every time today.

    He is my N of 1.

  8. Okay, I absolutely loved this line from the transcript: “It’s like which came first, the stricken or the egg? ” It just killed me. I love this site for all its well-researched info, for its nonprofit ethic, and for all those little tucked-away jokes (& killer puns), like this one, that are inserted here and there. And so I finally got off my arse, dug out my credit card, and made a donation.

    In a world gone nuts on so many levels, this site is a SANCTUARY of kindness and wisdom, and I want to do my bit to keep it around. All the respect, Dr Greger (and many thanks too to everyone else who supports this site). Keep up the great work! A pleasure to read and learn.

  9. I ended up looking up the effects on vegetables in glycemic control to see if I could strengthen their case and there were studies there, so there is a tangible pathway to reducing depression by helping regulate glucose and insulin, which is associated with less depression.

    1. But when I looked up serotonin and glucose and insulin, it is serotonin, which affects glucose and insulin, not glucose and insulin effecting serotonin.

      So serotonin hypothetically could explain at least some of why blood sugar is associated.

      I think.

  10. I just looked up vegetables and neurotransmitters and they are definitely linked, though that might be dependent on which ones you eat.

    Though looking at the Melatonin, bananas and pineapple and oranges worked to raise blood melatonin and they didn’t know the mechanism, so there might be indirect mechanisms, say like sleep effecting neurotransmitters. Sleep effecting blood sugar, vegetables and fruit affecting sleep would be one.

    1. So, I count three ways it is effecting blood sugar already and that is associated with decreases in depression and that is before its adding in nutrition and effecting the neurotransmitters and maybe things like acid.

  11. Okay so vegetables affect the gut microbiome and that affects blood sugar is 4 ways they help regulate blood sugar.

    And the gut microbiome makes another way they increase neurotransmitters.

  12. The studues might have to be longer and might need a control group of people eating meat and fighting against the microbiome and eating saturated fats and fighting against the insulin and eating a lot of sugar and refined carbs.

    Some of the processes like replacing gut microbiome would take time.

  13. Okay, the Serotonin component is more complex and they are going to point to Methionine, which Vegans might be lower in.

    “ne effect of tryptophan depletion is a lowering of mood, the magnitude of which seems to depend on the baseline state of the subject. Therefore, recovered depressed patients often undergo an acute relapse, while normal subjects show more moderate changes of mood. Totally euthymic subjects show no lowering of mood, but subjects with high normal depression scale scores or subjects with a family history of depression show a moderate lowering of mood. These data indicate that low serotonin levels alone cannot cause depression. However, serotonin does have a direct effect on mood, and low levels of serotonin contribute to the etiology of depression in some depressed patients. Folic acid deficiency causes a lowering of brain serotonin in rats, and of cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in humans. There is a high incidence of folate deficiency in depression, and there are indications in the literature that some depressed patients who are folate deficient respond to folate administration. Folate deficiency is known to lower levels of S-adenosylmethionine, and S-adenosylmethionine is an antidepressant that raises brain serotonin levels. These data suggest that low levels of serotonin in some depressed patients may be a secondary consequence of low levels of S-adenosylmethionine. They also suggest that the dietary intake and psychopharmacological action of methionine, the precursor of S-adenosylmethionine, should be studied in patients with depression.”

    1. Oops. Copied too much.

      “These data indicate that low serotonin levels alone cannot cause depression. Folate deficiency is known to lower levels of S-adenosylmethionine, and S-adenosylmethionine is an antidepressant that raises brain serotonin levels. These data suggest that low levels of serotonin in some depressed patients may be a secondary consequence of low levels of S-adenosylmethionine. They also suggest that the dietary intake and psychopharmacological action of methionine, the precursor of S-adenosylmethionine, should be studied in patients with depression.”

      Wait, are they supplementing Methionine instead of increasing Folate? Veggies can do Folate. Hooray!

      “Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach and dried legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils are naturally good sources of folate.”

  14. Okay, wondering about veggies and anxiety.

    I am not walking around feeling anxious, but, since my brain break down, I have had a strong procrastination problem and I was looking up procrastination and it is with the amygdala and Alzheimer’s affects the amygdala and the amygdala is involved in fight and flight and I do have fear of certain tasks and those get delayed more now than they used to.

    I had such serious hallucinations and cognitive processing problems and those are clearing up, but the fear of tasks and procrastination are so bad still and it has taken years to undo this whole brain problem thing.

    I have looked at executive function and I have looked at the data about the amygdala being different in people who procrastinate and in Alzheimer’s and I am not sure whether it will be that I need to pull out my Micropulse ICES and try to stimulate another part of the brain to take over something with executive function or whether I need to just keep learning about procrastination over and over again, like I have done with nutrition until my brain resets.

    It just feels like once I could start cognitively processing and understanding things better that I should be able to make decisions better and that should have already helped, but it hasn’t. I have to do the brain plasticity process again.

  15. I think it took me so long to be able to cognitively function that I simply couldn’t do things I was supposed to do.

    I could illustrate that with eating. You can’t eat properly without understanding how to eat and society has made it as complicated as possible. Now that I understand some things, my eating is definitely better than it was.

    A fear has set in of not knowing how to do things and of not feeling like I will be supported and those were based on rational logical processes and now they are based on something sneaky whether fear or laziness or both.

  16. Careful analysis of the key study (White et al) that Dr. Greger highlights, along with other literature on the connection between fruit/vegetables and mood, show a much more modest connection than Dr. Greger implies. For details, see:

    https://www.crsociety.org/topic/11584-do-fruits-vegetables-really-improve-happiness/

    As an health conscious ethical vegan, I love Dr. Greger’s work. But sometimes he tends to exaggerate the scientific evidence in favor of a plant-based diet. This is one such example.

    1. Dean,

      Indeed with a careful evaluation of the referenced study your contention is on the mark. The small change is minimal, at best.

      Good dive into the literature and thanks for keeping us on course to offer the best scientifically validated information.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

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