Just when “Recipe for Health” is getting more press coverage, a recent study by Harvard School of Public Health has confirmed the link between mental health and anti-oxidant rich diet. The study consisted of an analysis of the concentration of nine different antioxidants in the blood of 1,000 participants aged between 25 and 74 years old. The participants of this research were also asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate their degree of psychological optimism. This information was taken from this week’s British journal MailOnline.

According to the article, the Harvard University study found that people who were more optimistic had up to a 13 per cent increase in antioxidant concentrations in their blood, particularily carotenoids, compared with pessimistic people! The most optimistic people were the ones to consume fruits and/or vegetables five times a day. In fact, researchers believe that antioxidants have a stress relieving effect, and a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables among the people that are more optimistic in general could only partially explain these results.

Personally, I have long been convinced of the benefits of a diet rich in natural vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes and probiotics. Many other studies have also shown the anti-cancer effect of vitamin D [1] [2] [3], but this particular research that links mental and physical together, is to my knowledge, first of its kind. It provides a scientific explanation for the well-known relationship between the mental and physical balance in our bodies, and this seems to be an important step towards a holistic approach to health.

“In this case, I will gladly drink my daily packet of optimism!”

[1] Int J Epidemiol.1980 Sep;9(3):227-31. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? (Garland CF) ou B, ( Hernandez BY, McDuffie K, Wilkens LR, et al. Diet and premalignant lesions of the cervix: evidence of a protective role for folate, riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B12.
[2] Cancer Causes Control 2003;14(9):859-70., and Lajous M, Lazcano-Ponce E, Hernandez-Avila M, et al. Folate, vitamin B(6), and vitamin B(12) intake and the risk of breast cancer among Mexican women.
[3] Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2006;15(3):443-8.