Category Archives: vegetables

Foods rich in Vitamin C can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and early death


vitamin-cFoodFacts.com
has always believed that a long, healthy life can be achieved through a healthy, balanced diet. As we all strive for optimal health and well-being we take into consideration the latest information available on those foods we shouldn’t – and should – be consuming. Let’s face it, those recommendations can change from year to year and decade to decade. Trends and fads aside though, certain things have staying power – like the importance of fruits and vegetables in our diets. New research is now linking fruit and vegetable consumption with a whole new health benefit.

New research from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital shows that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the intake of fruit and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

The study, which has just been published in the well known American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is based on the Copenhagen General Population Study.

As part of the study, the researchers had access to data about 100,000 Danes and their intake of fruit and vegetables as well as their DNA. “We can see that those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables have a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables. At the same time, we can see that the reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables,” says Camilla Kobylecki, a medical doctor and PhD student at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

Among other things, vitamin C helps build connective tissue which supports and connects different types of tissues and organs in the body. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant which protects cells and biological molecules from the damage which causes many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The human body is not able to produce vitamin C, which means that we must get the vitamin from our diet.

“We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death. You can get vitamin C supplements, but it is a good idea to get your vitamin C by eating a healthy diet, which will at the same time help you to develop a healthier lifestyle in the long term, for the general benefit of your health,” says Boerge Nordestgaard, a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and a consultant at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

The researchers are now continuing their work to determine which other factors, combined with vitamin C, have an impact on cardiovascular disease and death.

Including foods rich in vitamin C in our diets isn’t a difficult proposition. There are so many options that are easy to incorporate each day. These significant findings are a great motivation for us all to expand our dietary universe and make sure we’re consuming our share of vitamin C foods. Let’s all live a longer, healthier life!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150707082350.htm

Only one in five Americans are eating their five a day

parsnip soup1There’s definitely a good reason why every adult remembers being sternly told to “eat your vegetables,” and why those same adults tell their children the same thing. Our bodies need fruits and vegetables. They’re an essential component to our good health. So FoodFacts.com was dismayed to read information today that clearly shows that not many of us have really gotten the message.

In every state in the U.S., fewer than one in five American adults are eating enough fruit and vegetables, new federal data shows.

In a report published July 9 using nationwide surveys that looked at produce intake in 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that while states vary when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, they all could use improvement in the produce department. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume 1.5 to two cups of fruit every day, along with two to three cups of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables add necessary dietary nutrients, which help maintain healthy body weight and keep health risks like heart disease, stroke and some cancers at bay, the CDC reports.

Even so, only 6% of people in Mississippi met government recommendations for vegetables, while 13% of people in California met them. Fruit didn’t fare much better. The most fruit-averse state was Tennessee, where only 8% of people met government recommendations, while in California, 18% of people met those recommendations.

The new data, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveals that overall, only 13% of the survey respondents met the recommendations for fruit intake and only about 9% met the vegetable intake recommendations. Past research indicates that children in the U.S. are often not meeting produce requirements either, the study authors write.

“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites,” the study authors conclude.

We’ve always thought that the best thing about fruits and vegetables is the variety available to us. If you don’t find one palatable, there are others to try. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet is actually easier than removing or reducing your consumption of other foods. While it may take some thought and some experimentation, the addition of healthy fruits and vegetables into your daily meal planning can, in fact, present you with new flavor combinations and a better overall eating experience. Five a day (or seven as some have stated) doesn’t have to be a chore. Let’s all try to pay more attention to giving our bodies the healthy, clean and beneficial foods they deserve. A little extra thought can go a long way to getting your five a day!

http://time.com/3950253/fruits-vegetables-intake/

Kids eat more fruit and vegetables when lunch is scheduled after recess

school-lunchWe keep hearing mixed results from the new school nutrition standards. But overall we do know that there’s still a lot of waste involved in school lunch — much of it being the fruits and vegetables we all want kids to be eating. We’re learning, though, that there is a way to make those fruits and vegetables more attractive to children.

Researchers from the Brigham Young University found that children are 45 percent more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables after recess.

In the study, the researchers studied 2,500 elementary-students from seven schools in Utah. They received fruits and vegetables at lunch as part of the National School Lunch Program. Three of seven schools were asked to move their recess periods to before lunch. The researchers then observed the garbage cans to see how much healthy stuff got thrown away.

They found that the kids ate 54% more fruits and vegetables when recess was before lunch. Additionally, in schools that made the swap, 45% more kids ate at least one serving of fruits and vegetables. They also found that these kids were also most unlikely to throw away their food. However, in schools that followed the traditional schedule of having lunch before recess, fruit and vegetable consumption actually dropped for the same time period.

Joseph Price, associate professor at the Brigham Young University and the lead author of the study, said, “Recess is a pretty big deal to kids. So if you make them choose between recess and vegetables, recess is going to win.”

The researchers explained that whenever lunch was scheduled first, kids usually threw away a great deal of their meal to have more time to play during the recess. However, setting recess before lunch made the kids hungry after their play. They also found that more kids were willing to eat extra servings of vegetables or fruits.

“Not only do kids eat more vegetables, but they throw less away. For a school trying to serve good fruits and vegetables, it’s encouraging to know you can get more in the tummy and less in the trash,” added Price.

The researchers added that apart from getting children to eat fruits and vegetables, switching recess and lunch schedules will also let schools and their districts save on costs, because there will be less wastage of food.

Less waste. More fruit and vegetable consumption. FoodFacts.com thinks recess before lunch might just be the way to go for all schools!

http://dailysciencejournal.com/lunch-recess-makes-kids-eat-fruits-vegetables/2747/

Going green can reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes (we mean your leafy greens!)

greensWe’re all trying to be green! We’re making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, choosing brown bags over plastic, using recycled everything as much as we can. New research we found today though is encouraging us to go green with our vegetables too — to reduce risks to the environment, but to reduce risks to our health!

Three new studies reveal that a chemical called nitrate – found in green vegetables including spinach, lettuce and celery – may aid heart health and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes.

The three studies were conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton – both in the UK.

In the first study, co-led by Dr. Andrew Murray from the University of Cambridge and published in The FASEB Journal, researchers found that eating more vegetables rich in nitrate may reduce production of a hormone made by the liver and kidneys, called erythropoietin. This hormone regulates the number of red blood cells in the body.

The team explains that at high altitudes or in cardiovascular diseases, the body is subject to a shortage of oxygen. In order to get more oxygen around the body, erythropoietin increases its production of blood cells.

However, high numbers of blood cells can cause the blood to become too thick. This means that the body’s organs and tissues may be starved of oxygen because the blood is unable to flow through small blood vessels to get to them.

But the findings from the team indicate that eating more nitrate-rich vegetables could thin the blood by lowering the number of red blood cells produced, which could have important implications for health. Dr. Murray says:

“Here we show that nitrate from the diet can help regulate the delivery of oxygen to cells and tissues and its use, matching oxygen supply and demand. This ensures cells and tissues in the body have enough oxygen to function without needing to overproduce red blood cells, which can make the blood too thick and compromise health.

Lowering the blood’s thickness without compromising oxygen delivery may also help prevent blood clots, reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.”

In addition, the researchers note that their findings could lead to the discovery of better ways to deliver oxygen to cells, which may help the recovery of patients in intensive care units.

Dr. Murray led the second study, which was recently published in The Journal of Physiology.
In this research, the team exposed rats to high altitudes in order to trigger increased production of red blood cells.

They found that rats fed a diet with nitrate – the equivalent to humans adding slightly more green vegetables to their diets – were better protected against an array of heart and circulatory conditions than rats fed a nitrate-free diet.

This is because nitrate increases production of a compound that widens the blood vessels, according to the researchers, improving blood flow. What is more, the researchers found that nitrate protects proteins in heart cells that are crucial for heart health.

“Nitrate supplementation may thus be of benefit to individuals exposed to hypobaric hypoxia at altitude or in patients with diseases characterized by tissue hypoxia and energetic impairment, such as heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or in the critically ill,” the team says.

In the third study – published in the journal Diabetes and led by Lee Roberts from the University of Cambridge – the team found that nitrate subjects “bad” white fat cells to a process called “browning,” which converts them into beige cells.

The researchers explain that beige cells are similar to “good” brown fat cells, which burn fat in order to generate heat. Increased levels of brown fat have been associated with reduced risk of obesity and diabetes, therefore the team hypothesizes that incorporating nitrate into the diet could protect against these conditions.

Commenting on the findings of all three studies, Dr. Murray says:

“There have been a great many findings demonstrating a role for nitrate in reducing blood pressure and regulating the body’s metabolism.

These studies represent three further ways in which simple changes in the diet can modify people’s risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity as well as potentially alleviating symptoms of existing cardiovascular conditions to achieve an overall healthier life.”

FoodFacts.com wants to emphasize the idea of simple dietary changes improving health and quality of life. This particular change is especially simple. There are so many green vegetables to choose from, we can easily enjoy a few different options every day. Salads, broccoli, spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage … the list goes on. Greens offer variety and texture to our meals, not to mention great flavor.

So the next time you’re thinking about the benefits of going green — don’t forget the health benefits of eating green as well!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286515.php

Fruits and vegetables linked to better mental health

2012-10-10-FruitsVeggiesEating your five a day has been proven to do amazing things for health. But when we think of that, our thoughts generally turn to improved heart health, reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and even increased longevity. This new information, however, points to benefits that probably never crossed our minds.

A previous study suggested that consuming five portions of fruits and vegetables a day is the optimum amount for lowering the risk of death from any cause, which contradicts another study that suggested we should be eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day.

The researchers from this latest study, led by Dr. Saverio Stranges of the University of Warwick Medical School in the UK, used data from the Health Survey for England, which included nearly 14,000 adults over the age of 16.
This survey collected detailed information on the mental and physical health of the participants, as well as their health-related behaviors, demographics and socio-economic characteristics.

In addition, the team assessed the participants’ mental well-being using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, putting the top 15% of participants in the “high mental well-being” group, the bottom 15% in the low group, and those between 16-84% in the middle group.

‘The higher the veg and fruit intake, the lower the chance of low well-being’
Overall, the researchers found that high and low mental well-being were typically associated with the participants’ fruit and vegetable intake.
In detail, 35.5% of participants with high mental well-being ate five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8% who consumed less than one portion.

Additionally, 31.4% of the individuals from the high mental well-being group ate three to four fruit and veg portions per day, and 28.4% ate one to two.
“The data suggest that [the] higher an individual’s fruit and vegetable intake, the lower the chance of their having low mental well-being,” says Dr. Stranges.

The researchers also considered other health-related behaviors – such as smoking, alcohol intake and obesity – and found that only smoking and fruit and vegetable intake were consistently associated with mental well-being.

Dr. Stranges explains:
“Along with smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption was the health-related behavior most consistently associated with both low and high mental well-being. These novel findings suggest that fruit and vegetable intake may play a potential role as a driver, not just of physical, but also of mental well-being in the general population.”

Alcohol intake and obesity were associated with low, but not high mental well-being, the researchers add.

According to the team, high mental well-being is more than simply the absence of symptoms or illness – it is the condition of feeling good and functioning well. They add that optimism, happiness, self-esteem, resilience and good relationships are also part of this mode of being.

According to co-author Prof. Sarah Stewart-Brown, mental illness “is hugely costly to both the individual and society, and mental well-being underpins many physical diseases, unhealthy lifestyles and social inequalities in health.”

She says enabling people to maintain good well-being is important from a research perspective.

“Our findings add to the mounting evidence that fruit and vegetable intake could be one such factor and mean that people are likely to enhance their mental well-being at the same time as preventing heart disease and cancer,” she adds.

When asked about whether the study accounted for physical activity, Dr. Stranges told Medical News Today that one of the limitations of the study was that such data “was not available in the Health Survey for England,” leaving room for further study.

What a great reason to strive to eat your five a day! FoodFacts.com believes this information gives us all a new perspective on fruit and vegetable consumption — and more great reasons to tell ourselves and all our loved ones (not just our kids) “Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you!”

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282972.php

Increase your intake of polyphenols and live a longer life

FoodFacts.com would love for all food consumers to answer this question: If someone told you that you could extend your life by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, would you do it? Pretty easy to answer, isn’t it? Today we read some new research that infers just that!

It is the first time that a scientific study associates high polyphenols intake with a 30% reduction in mortality in older adults. The research, published on Journal of Nutrition, is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not only a food frequency questionnaire. Research is signed by Cristina Andrés Lacueva, Montserrat Rabassa and Mireia Urpí Sardà, from the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology of the UB; Raúl Zamora Ros (ICO-IDIBELL), and experts Antonio Cherubini (Italian National Research Centre on Aging), Stefania Bandinelli (Azienda Sanitaria di Firenze, Italy) and Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Aging, United States).

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. More than 8,000 different phenolic compounds have been identified in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, etc. effects.

The research published on Journal of Nutrition is based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno (Tuscany, Italy), within the InCHIANTI study. The group of the UB analysed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker — the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration — as a proxy measure of intake. To be exact, UB researchers contributes to first literature references on TUP application to epidemiological or clinical studies.

Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explains that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering questionnaire. Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. According to the expert, “this methodology makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk.”

In conclusion, the research proves that overall mortality was reduced by 30% in participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day) in comparison with the participants who had low-polyphenol intakes ( Raúl Zamora Ros, first author of the study, points out that “results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.” Moreover, the research stresses the importance of evaluating — if possible — food intake by using nutritional biomarkers, not only food frequency questionnaires.

Here at FoodFacts.com, we try to get our five a day every day. We’re committed to a healthy diet based on fresh, whole foods and avoiding controversial ingredients. Our awareness of how nutrition affects our health and well being is paramount in our mission and in our lives. Today we just added to that awareness with this great news! Lets pass it on!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131009111025.htm

Eat more fruits and vegetables and live longer!

FoodFacts.com is a big believer in finding every possible way to consume your five a day! Fruits and vegetables are such an important source of nutrients for us. They really do help us to maintain our health, and have been associated with lowered risk and even prevention of various chronic health conditions and diseases. Today we found yet another reason to find even more healthful and delicious preparations for fruits and vegetables.

A new European study analyzes the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of mortality and concludes that fruit and vegetable consumption reduces all-cause mortality, and especially cardiovascular disease mortality.

The benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption are not a new discovery. However, new research confirms their role in reducing mortality. This reduction is more significant in the case of deaths from cardiovascular disease.

The analysis, recently published in the ‘American Journal of Epidemiology’, was directed by researchers from ten countries, including Spain, as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

The sample analyzed includes 25,682 deaths (10,438 due to cancer and 5,125 due to cardiovascular disease) among the 451,151 participants studied over more than 13 years.
“This study is the most significant epidemiological study that this association has examined to date,” María José Sánchez Pérez, director of the Andalusian School of Public Health’s (EASP) Granada Cancer Registry and one of the authors of the research, explains to SINC.

According to the results, a combined fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams per day reduces the risk of mortality by 10% and delays the risk of mortality by 1.12 years compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day.

Furthermore, for every 200 gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption, the risk falls by 6%. The proportion of deaths that could be prevented if everyone eating too few fruit and vegetables increased their consumption by 100-200 grams per day — thus reaching the recommended 400-500 grams per day — is 2.9%.

Previous studies already noted that fruit and vegetable consumption, in accordance with the recommended daily allowance, prevents the development of chronic diseases, and reduces the risk of mortality by 10-25%.

“There is now sufficient evidence of the beneficial effect of fruit and vegetable consumption in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases,” Sánchez states, “for this reason, one of the most effective preventative measures is promoting their consumption in the population.”

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 15%. Furthermore, more than 4% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease could be prevented by consuming more than 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day.

The mortality risk reduction due to fruit and vegetable consumption was greater in those participants who consumed alcohol (around 30-40% risk reduction), who were obese (20%), and “possibly” also in those who smoked.

The authors add that this positive effect is probably due to their high antioxidant content, which mitigates the oxidative stress caused by alcohol, tobacco and obesity.

“As such, these population groups in particular could benefit from the positive effects of fruit and vegetables in preventing chronic diseases and their associated mortality risk,” Sánchez concludes.

All these benefits just from increasing fruit and vegetable consumption! FoodFacts.com couldn’t be more pleased! And with so many flavorful, colorful choices to pick from, we can keep our diets tasty, interesting and healthy and enjoy a longer, healthier life!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926102433.htm

A great new reason for women to make sure they get their five a day

FoodFacts.com is always talking about the health benefits of a balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables. There are so many nutrients derived from the colorful varieties we’re lucky enough to be able to choose from! We know that getting our five servings a day of fruits and vegetables helps to reduce our risk of heart attack and stroke, in addition to diabetes, obesity, and even some types of cancer. Today we read about a new study that points to a lowered risk of bladder cancer for women who increase their fruit and vegetable consumption!

Researchers from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center reported on this new study in The Journal of Nutrition. The authors explained that fruits and vegetables have been extensively studied for their possible effects on the risk of cancer, including bladder cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain several nutrients, phytochemicals, as well as antioxidants which potentially protect from cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute2, there are approximately 72,570 new cancer bladder cases and 15,210 deaths caused by bladder cancer annually in the United States.

Song-Yi Park, PhD., and colleagues set out to determine what effect high fruit and vegetable intake might have on invasive bladder cancer risk. The team carried out a prospective analysis involving 185,885 older adults who participated in the Multiethnic Cohort Study. The study was set up in 1993 to examine the relationship between dietary, lifestyle, genetic factors, and the risk of cancer.

The researchers gathered and analyzed data over a 12.5-year period. During that time 152 females and 429 males developed invasive bladder cancer.

After making adjustments for some variables which influence cancer risk, such as age, the scientists discovered that those with the lowest bladder cancer risk were women who ate the most fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Park and team found that:

• Women with the highest yellow-orange vegetable intake had a 52% lower risk of developing invasive bladder cancer compared to women with the lowest consumption.
• Women with the highest consumption of vitamins A, C, and E were the least likely to develop bladder cancer.
• Fruit and vegetable consumption appeared to have no effect on male bladder cancer risk.

FoodFacts.com certainly stands behind the idea that five servings of fruits and vegetables every day is a good idea for everyone. This new information, however, gives all women yet another reason to be vigilant about their fruit and vegetable consumption. Keeping your fruit and veggie choices interesting and colorful makes it easy to include them in your daily diet. And your optimal daily diet will help you enjoy good health for years to come!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265231.php

A new strategy for nutritional awareness in children

FoodFacts.com knows that most of us find ourselves sounding just like our parents with our own children at the dinner table. “Eat your vegetables!” It’s the admonition most heard at dinner time, much to the chagrin of millions of children. We painstakingly prepare vegetables in manners we think will make them more palatable for kids, trying our hardest to get them used to the flavors we know are so important for their health and well-being.

So what’s the deal, anyway? Thinking back on it, we probably weren’t the best vegetable-eaters ourselves when we were children. Now we think they can be delicious components of meals, or even meals themselves! Perhaps our own nutritional awareness expanded (as well as our taste buds) as we grew older.

Now there’s new research that suggests that teaching children nutritional awareness may actually help them develop an appreciation for healthy foods earlier. Coming out of Stanford University and published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the research began by hypothesizing that preschoolers would be capable of understanding a more conceptual idea of nutrition.

Based on the idea that young children have a natural curiosity and desire to understand why and how things work, the researchers developed five storybooks that simplified various nutrition-related themes. These included dietary variety, digestion, food categories, microscopic nutrients and nutrients as fuel for biological functions.

The researchers assigned some preschool classrooms to read nutrition books during snack time for about 3 months, while other classrooms were assigned to conduct snack time as usual. Later, the preschoolers were asked questions about nutrition.

The children who had been read the nutrition books were more likely to understand that food had nutrients, and that different kinds of nutrients were important for various bodily functions (even functions that weren’t mentioned in the books). They were also more knowledgeable about digestive processes, understanding, for example, that the stomach breaks down food and blood carries nutrients.

These children also more than doubled their voluntary intake of vegetables during snack time after the three-month intervention, whereas the amount that the control group ate stayed about the same.

When the conceptual program was pitted against a more conventional teaching strategy focused on the enjoyment of healthy eating and trying new foods, the results showed that both interventions led to increased vegetable consumption. Yet, the children in the conceptual program showed more knowledge about nutrition and a greater overall increase in vegetable consumption.

Subsequent research is needed to confirm whether nutritional interventions like these can encourage healthy eating habits in children over the long-term, but the researchers are confident that these results show promise.

FoodFacts.com knows that our children are smart, small humans. They grow increasingly smarter over the generations. We also believe strongly that nutritional awareness is the key to our population’s successful adaptation to healthier lifestyle habits. Teaching our young children the concepts of healthy eating at their own level may have more beneficial effects than simply telling them to eat their vegetables at every meal. And we’ll be empowering them for making a lifetime of healthy eating choices!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701135600.htm

Eat your colors and reduce your risk of breast cancer

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. FoodFacts.com has always felt that Hippocrates had the right idea! We’re always thrilled to learn about how the foods we consume can have a positive influence on our health and well being. And we’re especially excited to discover that simple additions of fresh, healthy food to our diet can help us avoid chronic and often fatal illness.

A recent study from the researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School has shown that women with high levels of carotenoids (naturally occurring plant chemicals) have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.

While we know that diets high in fruits and vegetables have a positive influence on the risk of many different cancers, this particular link to those that are high in carotenoids offer specific benefits for women.

We’ve often heard the advice that “It’s best to eat in color”. This is certainly the case here. Carotenoids are pigements that give vegetables and fruits deep yellow, orange and red hues. Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash, apricots, mangoes and papyas are all great examples of foods high in carotenoids.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of data from 8 different studies that included 7,000 women. They discovered that the women whose blood levels were in the top 20 percent for carotenoids were 15 to 20 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those women whose carotenoid levels were in the bottom 20 percent. Most impressive, thought, was that the link between higher carotenoid levels in the blood was the strongest for the most aggressive, lethal forms of breast cancer.

Researchers noted that it seemed to be a linear relationship. The higher the levels of caretonoids in the blood, the lower the risk of breast cancer.

While more research is needed to discover the specific reason for the link, researchers hypothesize that the body may metabolize carotenoids into retinol, which may inhibit tumor growth.

It was noted in the study that the most effective way to boost carotenoid levels in the blood is through food consumption, not supplementation. They clearly felt that increasing fruit and vegetable intake is the best way to receive the health benefits of carotenoids and perhaps decrease the risk of breast cancer.

There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables in beautiful colors. FoodFacts.com honestly has a difficult time deciding which ones to include in our diets first. Whichever you choose, enjoy them in good health, knowing that the rich bounty of colorful, carotenoid-containing produce may help us decrease our odds of developing a deadly disease.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/039018_breast_cancer_carotenoids_fruits_and_vegetables.html#ixzz2VUaOiltR