Updated: Sep 26, 2020
Positive health effects such as improved mood, and reduced risk of depression, are results of diet quality, Mediterranean dietary pattern, fruit and vegetable, chocolate, as well as fish consumption.
Fruits and vegetables contain amounts of phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids. In addition, they are rich sources of various micronutrients such as vitamins A, C, folates, B-vitamins, and soluble fibre which are important for the health. Therefore, fruit and vegetable intake is associated with better mood and reduced risk of depression. Moreover, chocolate intake is associated with a higher feeling of happiness at young ages.
Additionally, happiness is also associated with beneficial effects on cardiovascular and immune systems. It also influences hormones and inflammation.
A study by European Geriatric Medicine (2018), examined the relationship between perceived happiness and nutrition in older men. The 715 members were from the socioeconomically homogeneous cohort of the longitudinal Helsinki Businessmen Study. The mean age of the respondents was 88 years (range 82–97).
The Visual Analog Scale of Happiness was used to evaluate happiness on a scale from 0 to 100. Whereas, weight loss and reduced food intake were measured using validated questions of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire.
The results showed that there were no significant differences between the amounts of food items retrieved from diet quality indices or 3-day food records. Moreover, the mean happiness score was 73.9.
However, total fruit and vegetable intake and with both fruit and vegetable intakes separately were linearly connected to happiness levels. But, on the other hand, happiness scores were inversely associated with age, self-reported blood glucose levels, skipping lunch, reduced food intake, and weight loss.
Besides, happiness is a subjective measure and several social and physical conditions may interfere with it. Good health and nutrition certainly may contribute to higher subjective happiness, but it is not the only indicator.
In conclusion, fruits and vegetable intakes can improve the quality of life by increasing happiness and enhancing psychological health.
Source: Happiness of the oldest‐old men is associated with fruit and vegetable intakes.
European Geriatric Medicine (2018).