A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that women with higher carotenoid levels in their blood have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
What are Carotenoids and Why are they Important?
Simply said, carotenoids are substances in fruits and vegetables that give them their bright colors. Carotenoids are prevalent in many orange colored vegetables and typically the darker the pigment in the food, the more carotenoids they contain. Carotenoids act as antioxidants which prevent damage to our cells. It is easy to add anti-oxidants, especially carotenoids to your diet:
- sweet potatoes
- red and orange peppers
The study indicated that women with the most carotenoids in their blood were 19 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Lycopene was the best carotenoid to protect against breast cancer. Those with the highest lycopene levels had a 22% reduced risk of cancer. Tomato products are loaded with lycopene. So besides the red/orange colored fruits and veggies in your diet, add tomato sauce, salsa, fresh tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit to your diet. This research confirms that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to your health.
Since carotenoids are fat-soluble, it is important to add a little healthy fat to your diet. An example is to add olive oil to your salad of vegetables or saute some garlic in olive oil before simmering tomatoes in the sauce. This will allow the body to absorb the nutrients and providing the benefit of lowering your risks of cancer.
Individuals can order their own lab tests to measure carotenoids with a simple blood test for Vitamin A and Carotene.
Resource: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, published online December 6, 2012.
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