What would the world be like with more optimistic people roaming around? We all know how important being optimistic is, and now a recent study has showed that people who have a high level of healthy plant compounds in their blood tend to be more optimistic about the future. It is the first study of its kind to show the relationship between carotenoids (the plant compound) and optimism, though researchers have long recognized the relationship between physical health and psychological wellbeing.
Carotenoids are antioxidants found in orange fruits and veggies and a few green vegetables. Participants in the study who were found to look at the glass as half full had high levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, while less optimistic participants generally ate two or fewer servings a day.
Research also supports the notion that a positive outlook can affect more than just the attitude. A 2009 study of more than 100,000 U.S. women, published in the journal Circulation, found that optimists live longer and healthier lives, with fewer cancer- and heart-disease-related deaths. These findings are an important piece of the puzzle for living a healthier and happier life, but these findings still need to be explored further.
As lead study author Julia Boehm, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, points out, “Our findings can be partially explained by the fact that more optimistic people tend to engage in healthier behaviors such as eating fruits and vegetables.” Therefore, one could argue that the increased carotenoid levels had nothing to do with the optimism at all, perhaps it was already there to begin with.
Don’t quit reaching for those fruits and veggies quite yet! Even if the attitude adjustment is still debatable, you can definitely count on better physical health from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.