Scientists have discovered that optimistic folk have higher levels of plant compounds called carotenoids in their blood.
A commonly-known carotenoid is beta-carotene, a pigment found in high levels in orange fruit and veg and green, leafy vegetables.Â
Previous studies have shown that high blood levels of antioxidantsÂ – of which carotenoids are one form – may be a marker of good health.
Antioxidants help keep other molecules in the body from producing free radicals, which can damage cells and contribute to disease.
‘Individuals with greater optimism tended to have greater levels of carotenoids such as beta-carotene,’ said lead investigator Julia Boehm, of the Harvard School of Public Health.
‘This is the first study of its kind to report a relationship between optimism and healthier levels of carotenoid concentrations,’ she added.
One theory is that antioxidants might have a de-stressing effect.Â
The current study evaluated blood concentrations of nine different antioxidants, including carotenoids such as beta-carotene and vitamin E in nearly 1,000 American men and women ages 25 to 74.