Welcome to the positive corner of the internet. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.
Today’s Health Upgrade
Eat your blues away
The reverse Q&A
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Eat More Greens, Feel Less Blue
There’s an old saying that “You are what you eat.” It turns out that what you eat might also influence how you feel.
Research suggests that the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the more it might improve your mental health.
At first, this seemed too good to be true. And, while cause and effect are limited, there’s growing research to suggest the benefits of more plants in your diet can make you both healthier and happier. One study found that people who ate more fruits had more confidence and energy. Another study found that people who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables reduced their risk of depression by nearly 20 percent.
It could just be that happier people eat healthier foods. But a study published just last year — a randomized controlled trial (the gold standard) — suggests it might be more than that. In the study, one group of participants followed their normal diet, while another group received a weekly delivery of vegetables (the scientists measured blood and skin to make sure people were eating the veggies). Those who powered with plants reported feeling happier than before the experiment began and happier than those who didn’t receive the fresh produce.
What’s going on? Right now, there are more questions than answers. But adding a few more servings of fruits and vegetables is rarely wrong. It might boost your mood, and eating three to seven servings daily is also associated with improved immunity and longevity.
The Reverse Q&A
Normally, every Friday, people from the village ask questions, and I answer.
This week, I want to do the opposite. I want to ask you questions. Because Arnold’s Pump Club is all about you, and the bigger we grow, the more I want to check in and make sure we’re still serving you with the fitness and nutrition info you need, workouts you love, and motivation that gets you going.
I’ve got three questions. You can hit reply and respond to this email (my team sends these responses to me), or you can tweet me your answers.
1. What part of these newsletters has helped you the most? Is there a particular tip or story that changed your life? In other words, what do you want to see more of?
2. On the flip side, what can we do better?
3. Finally, we always end on the positive. Tell me about your biggest win since you joined the village.
Thank you to all of you for being a part of this. I talked about this in my interview with Chris Wallace that is on CNN and MAX tonight, but my whole goal here is to provide an island of positivity in a sea of negativity. But it’s really bigger than that: it’s growing that island until it takes over the sea — and I can’t do that without each and every one of you.
Weekend Challenge: Burn the Ships
This week’s challenge comes from our friend Michael Easter, founder of 2%. And it’s not just something for this weekend — but potentially for every week.
Research suggests pushing it extra hard one time per week might be one of the most practical ways to upgrade your health without completely recreating your schedule.
Scientists at King’s College in London analyzed 53 studies and found that intense exercise led to “improvements in mental wellbeing, depression severity, and perceived stress compared to non-active controls, and small improvements in mental wellbeing compared to active controls.”
But more isn’t always better when it comes to intense exercise. And the level you need to push yourself depends on your ultimate goals. If you’re trying to win Mr. Olympia, the intensity, consistency, and frequency level is different. Your diet must be near perfect, and you must train a lot.
If you’re trying to be fit, lean, happy, and healthy, takeout and dessert can be a regular part of life, and one challenging workout a week can do much more for your goals than you think. In fact, one super intense session could be the sweet spot for health and performance, assuming you can move and exercise a few other days during the week.
The one grueling session challenges you mentally, builds you up physically and reduces the likelihood of getting burned out and beat up.
Your challenge: do something harder than you normally would this weekend. This is the time to go the proverbial (or literal) extra mile. It could be lifting heavier weights, doing more sets, rucking with a heavier bag, running for a longer distance, hiking a mountain, or playing a sport you love.
The activity doesn’t matter. What does is pushing yourself harder, expanding your comfort zone, putting in the extra work, and knowing you made yourself a little bit better.
Give it a try, and let Arnold know what you did on social.
And thanks again for joining us for another week. We hope you all have a fantastic weekend.
-Arnold, Adam, Daniel