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Mood-Boosting Foods

Science supports a smoothie habit.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE SCIENCE
Researchers in New Zealand found that people who eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables are more likely to report positive moods, greater life satisfaction, and fewer symptoms of depression than those who eat produce in non-raw states.
EXPERT INSIGHT
“There’s promising evidence that folate, carotenoids, vitamin C, and B vitamins are involved with wellbeing and mental health,” says study author Kate Brookie, Ph.D., a researcher in the psychology department at the University of Otago in New Zealand. 

But most of these nutrients get destroyed when they’re cooked, canned, or otherwise processed. There are exceptions: Carotenoids, like those in carrots and dark leafy greens, actually become more abundant when exposed to high temps, she says. 

While most can’t stand the heat, antioxidants can hold their own in the freezer. “Pop frozen fruits and vegetables straight into a smoothie, and you won’t lose any nutrients,” Brookie adds. 
THE BOTTOM LINE

Even eating one extra serving of raw produce per day can significantly boost your mental health, she says. The benefits level off once you reach eight daily servings. (So don’t go overboard if you find raw veggies lead to bloating.) 

Opt for these fruits and vegetables, which the study found had the most mood-boosting benefits: Apples, bananas, carrots, lettuce, berries, cucumbers, kiwis, dark leafy greens like spinach, and citrus fruits like grapefruit.



Photo: Getty Images