Eating More Fruit & Veg Can Make You Happy

Published on 14 Jun
5 min read

Health issues are continuously discussed in the media whether its the latest diet, superfood or the relationship we have with medication. While it is not a new-fangled notion, the idea that a well-balanced diet high in fruit and vegetable consumption may be linked, not only with our physical wellbeing but also our mental wellbeing, is the latest health trend to circulate through topical debate.

The latest research suggests that an average intake of 8 portions of fruit and veg daily can have profoundly positive effects on the mood. Continuing research started by Australian scientists in 2016 where the levels of happiness and fruit and veg consumption were first discovered, the UK Household Longitudinal Study has released data this year echoing similar results.

Salad selection
A diet full of colour can be mood-enhancing!

78% of people in the UK do not eat the recommended five portions a day of fruit and vegetables[1] and with dramatic rates of mental illnesses being reported, perhaps a change in diet is the best preventative medicine. The findings of this research proved that happiness levels improved much more rapidly than physical wellbeing[2].

The reason this may be the case is because of the levels and concentrations of pigments within plant-based foods. For instance, pigments such as carotenoids, found in bright-coloured vegetables such as carrots and corn, are linked to increased levels of satisfaction and positivity[2]. Fruit & veg are both high in vitamin and minerals contents, with some being considered antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. So not only are these plant foods nourishing our physical sides, but they are extremely important for our mental functions too.

Bright coloured foods are filled with pigments which are powerful antioxidants which benefit our minds and bodies

Sunshine Foods

Fruits and vegetables can only be available to us through the powers of the natural world. Sunlight and water infuse plants with goodness which is then transferred to us through consumption. We can feed our emotions with food.

Sunset in countryside
Emulate the warmth & care of the sun by eating bright coloured foods.

Colours are also attributed to emotions. Whilst it’s extremely important to ‘eat the rainbow’, some foods contain naturally bright pigments and could, therefore, help us have a happy disposition. Yellow and orange-hued fruits and vegetables are, in particular, the best foods to consume when you are feeling low. It is believed that these colours are associated with happiness and could have the potential to release happy hormones within us which reflects wellbeing both inside and out.

It is acknowledged that these 2 colours represent the sun, happiness, stimulation and give off a warming effect[3] all of which do improve mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore, it can be interpreted that these 2 colours, when attributed to foods, can relay similar effects on our moods and bodies too.

It is important to understand that food, in particular, plants were and still are, considered a true form of medication which heals both the mind and body.

Yellow & Orange Foods to Consume

If you’re feeling low, especially as summer is slow to show itself this year, these are the foods to help the sun’s feelgood powers feed your glow. These foods are rich in antioxidants which protect our cells against damage from free radicals[4]. There is a belief which suggests more optimistic people tend to follow a healthier lifestyle.


The colour yellow is bright and intense. Yellow symbolises warmth and energy[5], just like the sun. Interestingly, yellow is believed to stimulate activity in the brain to help ‘clean up’ the mind and bring energy to the body[6].

  • Banana
Keep smiling and tuck into a banana
  • Mango
Chopped up mango pieces
The bold yellowy-orange colour of mango is intense and stimulating.
  • Pineapple
Pineapple on the grass
Embrace the sunshine with the tropical flavours of pineapple
  • Corn/ Sweetcorn / Babycorn
Baby corn
Sweet, crunchy yellow baby corn could give you a happy boost.


The colour orange is an energetic colour but it also symbolises excitement, enthusiasm and warmth[7].  The colour orange can stimulate emotions such as compassion, creativity and desire, all of which can inspire happiness[6].

  • Apricot
Sweet, juicy apricots could give you warm feelings.
  • Pepper
Small, sweet yellow and orange peppers
Peppers come in a number of hues, but yellow and orange peppers could make you feel happier.
  • Orange
Feeling positive with oranges.
  • Carrot
Bunch of carrots
Carrots contain a high amount of beta-carotene which boosts skin health and protects the brain.

Tips for Emotional Healing

As well as consuming an abundance of different coloured fruit and vegetables in your daily lives, in particular, yellow and orange-hued plants, if you are feeling low, it is important to review other parts of your diet and lifestyle.

Sunshine foods. Nectarines are bright-coloured fruits which could promote a more optimistic outlook.

Whole foods are recommended as well as gentle daily exercise like a 10-minute walk in the evening to end your day peacefully.

Acknowledging your emotions and feelings is an important step to letting go of negative feelings, which are sometimes necessary as part of our journeys. Once acknowledged, these feelings are easier to let go, and therefore you have space to embrace happier thoughts.

A Happy Thought

Science is still discovering the reasons why fruits and vegetables can contribute to a happy mood, but there still is enough evidence to suggest that bright-hued foods can make you feel happier.

Does a psychological improvement in your health inspire you to add more colourful fruits and vegetables to your diets? Put a smile on your face with locally grown fruit and vegetables for an extra boost.

Join the conversation on social media. Follow Foodful on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclaimer: Foodful is not a medical journal and is therefore not intended for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. Information is intended for understanding and entertainment purposes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.