People Who Eat Veggies Are the Happiest People of All, Study Says
Is Broccoli Really the Key to Happiness?
You may look at a plate of broccoli or Brussels sprouts or cauliflower and wish it would turn into a thick slice of chocolate cake, but a new study suggests people who nosh on several servings of vegetables a day are the happiest people.
Dartmouth University researcher Daniel Blanchflower and his team studied the diets of 80,000 British citizens and found that how happy those people were increased with the number of servings of vegetables they ate each day.
People who ate eight servings or more each day were 0.27 points happier (on a scale of one to 10), while people who are seven servings of veggies a day reported themselves happiest of all.
Blanchflower (doesn't his name sound like the name of some exotic vegetable?) said he and his fellow researchers had factored in the income and educational background of the participants, and that students in the U.S. have found similar results for Americans.
The big question that remains from the study is the causality of the results. Are people happier because they're eating more veggies, or are happier people choosing to eat healthier food?
"It might be that we just have all these vegetarians that are richer or happier," Blanchflower told a Washington Post reporter. "There are definitely issues of causality. At the same time, I think what we've done here is establish correlation. I don't think we expected to see the relationship we did. The reason you're calling me is because this was unexpected."
Blanchflower said it's difficult to concoct an experiment that would address the causality questions, because it would require "a controlled, random experiment where you randomly make people eat carrots." But he said he is interested in a follow-up study that would determine how veggies and happiness effect how people feel physically.
"Happiness does seem to correlate with certain physical things and biomarkers," he says. "We know that happy people have lower pulses, for example. So maybe that's a crucial path. It wouldn't surprise me."
Regardless of what the new research might reveal, and at a time when even the Cookie Monster has swapped his chocolate chip treats for fruit, it seems clear that we should all start including more vegetables on our dinner plates.