Research shows that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of dying by 39 percent. Alpha-carotene is said to be one of those substances that can make a particularly significant contribution to reducing the risk of death.
Note: This article is more than 10 years old and has not yet been updated.
Alpha-carotene levels in the blood affect lifespan
Alpha-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that we get mostly from vegetables and fruit. The natural substance can be found in concentrated form in the colorful skins and pulp of most natural foods.
A study of a group of more than 15,000 men and women over a period of nearly 18 years is described in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The analysis of the alpha-carotene level in the blood showed a direct connection between the concentration of this nutrient in the blood and the risk of death in the person concerned.
Alpha-carotene protects against cancer and heart disease
The researchers found that people with the highest levels of alpha-carotene had a 39 percent lower risk of dying than those with low carotene levels.
Those participants who consumed the greatest amounts of vegetables and fruits also had the highest levels of alpha-carotene. In contrast, a diet that relied heavily on processed foods did not result in appreciable levels of alpha-carotene.
The study also showed that alpha-carotene can effectively protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer of the brain, liver, and skin.
Foods that increase alpha-carotene levels
Alpha-carotene is believed to reduce the risk of death and disease because it is a very powerful antioxidant that can neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals on our cells and on the energy-producing mitochondria within our cells.
To absorb sufficient amounts of alpha-carotene, green, yellow, and orange-red vegetables such as e.g. Examples include carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, green beans, peas, spinach, and green leafy vegetables.
Fruit reduces lung cancer
Fruits, on the other hand, have been shown to be very effective in reducing the risk of lung cancer. They lowered that risk by 23 percent, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention Interestingly, the study also showed that the reduction in disease risk decreases even further the more different types of fruit are eaten, but the same time, the amount of fruit consumed is less important.
Eating more than eight different fruits was found to offer the best protection. Each additional type of fruit consumed reduced the risk of disease by a further 4 percent.
What does a varied diet mean?
So when we talk about varied diets, it doesn’t necessarily mean giving birth like an omnivore and blindly tasting anything that seems even remotely edible, but rather diversifying our diets from those food groups that are our natural staples.
In practice, this means: instead of consuming meat, sausage, cheese, yogurt, baked goods and pasta, one type of fruit, and possibly two types of vegetables or salad during the day, there would be one that is much more interesting, one that is significantly less stressful and one that is special A diet rich in antioxidants, for example, four, five or more different seeds and nuts, 10 to 20 different types of vegetables and herbs and five to eight different types of fruit.