Eat Fruits and Vegetables, Be Happy?

New Study Links Fruit and Vegetable Consumption With Happiness

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There’s a certain jolt of joy I get from biting into a perfectly ripe peach from my local farmers’ market or slicing into a luscious vine-ripened tomato from my garden. I always thought this was a temporary high — one that disappeared as soon as the juice was dried from my sticky fingers. But according to a new study, how many fruits and vegetables we eat daily may measurably impact how happy we feel.

Researchers from New Zealand recently published a study in the British Journal of Health Psychology which observes a link between eating more fruit and vegetables and feeling happier and more engaged in life.
The study followed 405 university students for a 13-day period during which they kept food diaries and filled out questionnaires designed to measure creativity, curiosity, and other aspects of psychological health. Subjects rated statements such as “Today I was engaged and interested in my daily activities” on a seven-point scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”

The results? People who ate more fruits and vegetables reported higher levels of curiosity, creativity, and other positive emotions. They also felt more engagement, meaning, and purpose in their lives. “These findings suggest that fruit and vegetable intake is related to other aspects of human flourishing, beyond just feeling happy,” explains University of Otago psychologist Tamlin Conner.

Importantly, the results were not only applicable across people, but also across time. In other words, on days when participants ate more fruits and vegetables, they felt better than on the days when they skimped. That’s some pretty immediate feedback from the body!

While it’s possible that feeling more positive causes people to eat better rather than the other way around, researchers suggest the micronutrients in produce, particularly vitamin C, might be at work. Vitamin C helps the body make dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation and engagement. Another factor could be that eating fruits and vegetables helps reduce inflammation, which may improve mood.

This is just another reason why growing your own produce makes sense. When it’s steps from your door, there’s no reason not to include healthy food in all your meals. I know from experience that gardening isn’t always easy, but there is something that can make it easier. Tower Garden!
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Tower Garden is a highly efficient aeroponic growing system that allows you to grow a lot of produce in a little space. It has quite a few advantages over traditional gardening. First, it grows produce in about half the time of soil-based agriculture. Second, it uses just a fraction of the water and soil, so it’s an ecological alternative.

Third, its compact design fits in just about any sunny spot outdoors (think patios, rooftops, terraces, balconies, decks, or porches), and assembly is easy. Fourth, there’s no weeding, tilling, kneeling, or getting dirty. Fifth, because it’s designed to last a lifetime, Tower Garden is actually a better long-term value than store-bought produce. And with this new research, who knows? It could even make you and your loved ones happier.

Have you ever thought about the relationship between your diet and your mood? Have you noticed a happiness lift from eating more fruits and vegetables? Share your experiences in the comments below.

To eat the seed? To not eat the seed? What the heck, just eat it!

 

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Ever wondered what to do with the seed once the avocado is eaten? There are some amazing, (and surprising) benefits to this (great little ball of slipperiness) I’m telling ya’ll, that sucker is slippery.

I remember when I let my now 11 year old cut and pit, at 8, his first avocados and that thing flew across the counter, bounced on the floor and we couldn’t find it for weeks. Then, of course, with a couple of little ones crawling around, it was destined for rediscovery.

Funny stories of these little wonders of God’s creation, but we’ll talk about them gems another time!!

Here are, In list form, uses for “THEM GEMS”

  1. Indelible Ink9772730_f260

Crush the avocado pit gently using a hammer or brick.

The milky liquid that comes out will turn red or black when exposed to the air.

Using a matchstick or thin paintbrush, experiment by dipping it into the liquid and writing or painting on a sheet of paper.

photo credit: Calsidyrose via photo pin cc

 

  1. Children’s Lesson about Germination

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Children love getting their hands dirty and learning through practical activities.

Sprouting an avocado pit is a great homeschool or classroom project to learn about germination. The process is simple:

– Fill a small jar with water

– Wash the seed

– Insert four tooth picks into the seed

– Suspend the seed over the jar so it touches the water

– Place in a sunny area and wait around 6 weeks for it to sprout

 

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Once you see how easy it is to sprout avocado pits, you’ll want to try with other kitchen scraps. Pineapple heads, lentils, peanuts, ginger root… your leftovers can be brought back to life. A great frugal way to garden, and an educational activity for kids.

Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps

– Features 68 different windowsill plants that are grown from kitchen scraps

– Easy to follow instructions with handy index and illustrations

– Includes Latin & common plant names, method and rate of growth, light requirements and taste notes.

 

3 AND 4 SAUCES AND SMOOTHIES

– Dry and grate an avocado seed to make a traditional North Mexican enchilada sauce taste really authentic.

– If drinks are more your thing, blend the pit into a smoothie or juice to benefit from all the nutrients. Use half a pit for every 2 person serving. My favorite combinations are avocado flesh and pit, cucumber and green apple. I also like mango, pineapple and ginger.

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Pitters, slicers and scoopers for you

As you can imagine from reading this page, I eat plenty of avocados! Up until recently, I relied on a sharp knife and good luck to remove the pit. But getting the pit out of a soft, slippery fruit is dangerous, messy and time consuming.

I found out about these great tools and haven’t looked back. They pit, slice, scoop and mash easily, and leave you without a mess. Best of all, these products are pretty low cost so it’s not like you’re spending a lot of cash on a one-use item. I’ve compiled my favourites for you: 

Best Avocado Slicers, Pitters & Savers 2014images-4images-5Unknown-6images-6

Avocados are one of the tastiest foods ever, but pitting and slicing them can be a messy and slippery process. Not anymore with the modern range of avocado slicers out there.

Avocado seed debate

More on this topic later. But tell me, do you leave the pit in your guacamole, and does it keep it from going brown?

So, what do you think?

Does putting an avocado seed in the guacamole work?

J