A Fruit Bowl Is The Best Way To Tackle The 3pm Slump

The Quickest, Most Affordable Way To Take A Bite Out Of The 3pm Slump

Make long days a little sweeter.

Though the physical benefits of healthy eating are voluminously documented, there is surprisingly little known about how diet affects your mental wellbeing. Yes, chillies give you an endorphin rush and a sugar high almost invariably ends with a crash – but what of food’s effects on your longer-term mental health? And as you contend with the customary new-year anxieties of being back at work, how do you fuel your positivity?

According to a team of researchers from Birmingham’s Aston University, it’s simpler than you might think. They found that while frequently consuming nutrient-poor snacks is associated with reductions in psychological health, those who stave off hunger with ordinary fruit tend to have significantly better mental wellbeing than those who don’t. 

A crucial detail of their study, which surveyed the eating habits of 428 adults from across the UK, is that how often you dip into the fruit bowl is more important than the total amount you eat. That means bingeing on a supermarket tub of melon chunks is less effective than, say, swapping your mid-afternoon bag of crisps for an apple. Regularity is key.

Also important is that veg doesn’t seem to have a comparable effect, despite being similarly rich in fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients. The researchers speculate that this is because we tend to cook them, diminishing their nutrient payload, while we eat almost all of our fruit raw.

Don’t consider yourself much of a fan? Then shake up your expectations with one of our alternative fruit-bowl recipes. 

Pick ’n’ mix recipes

Mash the base ingredients with a cocktail muddler in a large bowl for 30 secs. Toss with the add-ins and let it rest for 15 mins. Top with the kicker. Each serves 4

Plum Pudding

BASE: 4 tsp sugar + 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

ADD-INS: 250g red or black grapes + 250g blueberries + 350g plums

KICKER: 30g almond flakes + 2 tbsp lemon juice

Apple Crumble

BASE: 3 tsp sugar + 1/2 tsp each cinnamon + ginger

ADD-INS: 2 to 3 apples + 300g blackberries

KICKER: 80g granola + 30g nut of choice + 1 tbsp each maple syrup + plain greek yoghurt

Raspberry Ripple

BASE: 4 tsp sugar + 2 tsp lemon zest

ADD-INS: 250g raspberries + 350g apricots + 2 small bananas

KICKER: 30g dark chocolate + 30g halved or crushed nut of choice

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