A positive outlook can improve your heart health

Looking on the bright side of things can not only boost your mood but also improve your heart health, according to a new study.

For diabetics, cardiovascular fitness can be especially influenced by blood sugar levels, as well as other factors like body mass index, diet, exercise and cholesterol levels.

Researchers found that optimists had significantly better blood sugar control, were more physically active and had healthier BMIs than pessimists.

"Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts," said lead study author Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois. "This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health."

Reduced death rates

According to Hernandez, even a small improvement in cardiovascular health can greatly reduce risk of early death from cardiovascular complications.

People in the study who were categorized as optimists were far more likely to have "ideal" heart health overall and were 55 percent more likely to have a better total health score in general.

The study is published in the journal Health Behavior and Policy Review.

Source:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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