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Benefits of Optimism Quantified | Fruit, Veggies, and CVD

From eNewsletter 10/9/2019

DID YOU KNOW that findings from a new study presented at Nutrition 2019, the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting reveal that inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption may account for millions of deaths from heart disease and strokes each year?

The study estimated that roughly 1 in 7 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough fruit and 1 in 12 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough vegetables.


Steve and Bonnie: Researchers have finally linked optimism and prolonged life. A study in PNAS have found that individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer and to achieve "exceptional longevity," that is, living to age 85 or older. Optimism refers to a general expectation that good things will happen, or believing that the future will be favorable because we can control important outcomes. Whereas research has identified many risk factors that increase the likelihood of diseases and premature death, much less is known about positive psychosocial factors that can promote healthy aging. Women were followed for 10 years, while men were followed for 30 years. When individuals were compared based on their initial levels of optimism, the researchers found that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated, on average, an 11 to 15 percent longer lifespan, and had 50-70 percent greater odds of reaching 85 years old compared to the least optimistic groups. The results were maintained after accounting for age, demographic factors such as educational attainment, chronic diseases, depression and also health behaviors, such as alcohol use, exercise, diet and primary care visits. Optimistic people tend to have healthier habits, such as being more likely to engage in more exercise and less likely to smoke, which could extend lifespan. The study has strong public health relevance because optimism may be modifiable using relatively simple techniques or therapies.


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