Is two weeks soon enough to start feeling better? Yes according to a recent paper of which the title is in part “Let them eat fruit!” reported that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption for just 2 weeks is enough to start seeing and feeling positive benefits. Young adults taking part in the reported trial experienced motivation, positive mood and increased vitality.
Before taking part, participants ate 3 or less servings of combined fruit and vegetables a day, a similar average daily consumption of many Australian adults. Groups within the trial were either provided with fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables or sent twice-daily texts encouraging them to consume more fresh produce.
Interestingly, text messaging didn’t work but by contrast, ready availability of produce did, with consumption increasing along with blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids (a plant nutrient found in orange and red vegetables).
While this trial was conducted on young adults, I think the take home message is the same regardless – if there is a ready supply of fresh seasonal produce in the home, it is more likely to be consumed. I can say from personal experience that this approach works for me, and not just at home. Recently during ‘O-week’ at the college I teach, there were bowls of Granny Smith apples supplied in ready abundance for students. I admit, in passing, I poached at least one every day, as did many students and staff members I saw munching on apples over that week. Providing access to fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables could also be applied to the work place environment, schools and universities alike. A few ideas I have seen work or strategies I have used myself to increase easy access to fruit and vegetables include:
- A weekly delivery of fruit and vegetables delivered to the home – for me this is a convenience I value. I also have to get creative with my cooking, as the box is varied and seasonal.
- Fresh fruit/plant based meals in vending machines. There is a healthy vending machine at my workplace, which I know the students take advantage of. The fresh, daily produced meals look delicious.
- Rallying schools to include more fruit and vegetable based options in canteens. Jamie Oliver has really championed this push and it would be great to see it more widespread in Australia.
- Supermarkets giving away fresh fruit to children in the F & V section of the supermarket (I love this idea as it also reduces food waste).
Conner TS, et al. Let them eat fruit! The effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on psychological well-being in young adults: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2017 Feb 3;12(2):e0171206.