Ideally we should all be eating at least three cups of greens every week, a goal that nearly 70 percent of Americans fail to meet. But new research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology reveals that even viewing the color green can lead to health benefits, specifically an enhanced mood and improved exercise performance.
In the study, fourteen volunteers cycled at a moderate intensity for five minutes while watching video footage of a cycling course that simulated biking through a natural setting. Then three more video conditions were randomly shown: unedited (green); achromatic (grey or without color); and filtered red.
Anger spiked after seeing red, and compared to the grey and red colored footage, those who saw green experienced lower disturbances in mood and better perceived exercise exertion. Scientists say it’s the first study to show that the color green contributes to positive exercise outcomes.
I love this study because my office is green, sort of a spring pea shade I adore and carefully chose because it made me feel so darn good. When I look at it I feel calm, inspired, and energized all at the same time. I guess now I know why—so much for green with envy!
To get your fill of the color green, along with a whole lotta nutrients, whip up my simple feel good green salad. You can enjoy it as a veggie side dish, or use it as the base of an entrée salad (just add a whole grain like cooked, chilled red quinoa and your favorite lean protein):
Feel Good Green Salad:
½ cup each finely chopped kale and spinach
¼ cup finely shredded green cabbage
¼ cup each finely chopped green bell pepper, green onion, and cucumber
Gladly Green Dressing:
¼ ripe avocado
1 clove roasted garlic, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor to blend (add water to thin if needed). Toss with salad greens.
What’s your take on this topic? How does green make you feel? Please tweet @cynthiasass and @Shape_Magazine.
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.