Vegetables: Food of Optimists

A new study found a positive correlation between vegetable consumption and optimism. Things are looking up

All this science urging us to eat vegetables really has us stocking up on broccoli and carrots, and it's probably a good thing. A new study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that men and women who had more carotenoids in their blood also had a higher degree of optimism.

"This study is the first of its kind to report a relationship between optimism and healthier levels of carotenoids," Boehm said. In the past, research has found a link between junk food and depression, but this is the first study looking at positive psychological benefits of food.

The study surveyed around 1,000 men and women, examining their blood concentration for various antioxidants as well as their psychological state with a questionnaire.

The result? People who were more optimistic had a 13 percent increase in carotenoid concentrations than people who were less optimistic. In fact, people who had two or fewer servings of fruits or vegetables a day were more pessimistic than people who ate three or more servings a day.

Study results, however, aren't conclusive enough to show a change in optimism due to diet. "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 and avoiding cigarette smoking," lead study author Julia Boehm says. Of course, we might just look on the bright side. It's a possibility that fruits and vegetables help increase optimism.

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