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Happiness Rises with Age

Posted Mar 01 2013 10:24pm
Posted on March 1, 2013, 6 a.m. in Mental Health Lifestyle
Happiness Rises with Age

Psychological well-being has been linked to many important life outcomes, including career success, relationship satisfaction, and even health. Angelina R. Sutin of Florida State University College of Medicine (Florida, USA), and colleagues used two large-scale longitudinal studies, NIH’s Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), involving  more than 10,000 repeated assessments across 30 years that surveyed well-being, health, and other factors. When the researchers analyzed the data across the whole pool of participants, older adults had lower levels of well-being than younger and middle-aged adults. Factoring in the effects of “birth cohort” people born around the same time who may have had unique experiences that shape the way they evaluate happiness and optimism, the team analyzed the same data and found that life satisfaction increased over the participants’ lifetimes. In short, self-reported feelings of well-being tend to increase with age, but a person’s overall level of well-being depends on when he or she was born.

Sutin AR, Terracciano A, Milaneschi Y, An Y, Ferrucci L, Zonderman AB. “The Effect of Birth Cohort on Well-Being: The Legacy of Economic Hard Times.”  Psychol Sci. 2013 Jan 24.

  
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Tip #129 - Carrots Count
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, a free-radical fighting compound shown to protect against ultraviolet damage and help to enhance the immune system.

Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA) researchers reported long-term benefits relating to general cognition and verbal memory, among men taking beta carotene supplements (50 mg every other day) for fifteen or more years. Because beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, the team suggests that beta carotenes exert their protective benefits on cognition by preventing the build-up of plaques associated with beta-amyloid deposits, which are associated with loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As well, carrots may help promote cardiovascular health. In a study involving 559 men followed for fifteen years, a team from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) found that an increased consumption of alpha- and beta-carotene in the diet significantly reduced the risks of heart disease deaths. Specifically, the team found that the increased intake of carrots, rich in alpha- and beta-carotene, corresponded to a 17% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular-related death.

Crunchy and colorful, carrots are a smart choice for a mid-day snack or featured in a salad or side dish for dinner.
 
 
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