Chris Blattman

Close this search box.

The secret to happiness? 7 portions of vegetables a day.

In cross-sectional data, happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables. The pattern is remarkably robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables. Well-being peaks at approximately 7 portions per day.

We document this relationship in three data sets, covering approximately 80,000 randomly selected British individuals, and for seven measures of well-being (life satisfaction, WEMWBS mental well-being, GHQ mental disorders, self-reported health, happiness, nervousness, and feeling low).

Reverse causality and problems of confounding remain possible. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our analysis, how government policy-makers might wish to react to it, and what kinds of further research — especially randomized trials — would be valuable.

Just imagine the happiness effect if the vegetables had not been cooked by the British.


33 Responses

  1. Reverse causality is indeed likely: Wealthier, more educated individuals have a healthier diet, including more consumption of vegetables.

Why We Fight - Book Cover
Subscribe to Blog