Diet High in Fruits and Vegetables Lowers Risk of Death
It will come as no surprise to many health-minded individuals that a natural diet high in vegetables and fruits promotes health and extends lifespan. Foods saturated with synthetic chemicals, hydrogenated fats, salt and sugar stress our genetic integrity and result in metabolic chaos. We evolved to eat a diet packed with nutrients in a natural state and live in an environment free of pollutants and man-made toxins. Research now shows that a diet high in vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of death from all causes by up to 39%.
High Alpha-Carotene Level Linked to Lower Risk of Death
Alpha-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that we take in largely from eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits. This nutrient superstar is found concentrated in the brightly colored skins and flesh of most foods in their natural form. Information published in the Archives of Internal Medicine provides the results of a study performed on a group of more than 15,000 men and women over a period of nearly 18 years. A review of circulating alpha-carotene in the blood showed a direct correlation between blood saturation of the nutrient and risk of dying.
Healthy Diet Shown to Reduce Mortality by 39%
Researchers measured alpha-carotene levels to determine risk of death and found that those individuals with the highest blood saturation had a 39% lower risk of dying from any cause compared with the lowest levels. Participants that consumed the most vegetables and fruits were found to have the highest alpha-carotene levels, while a processed food diet yielded virtually no measurable levels of the antioxidant. The study found that alpha-carotene provided a high degree of protection against cardiovascular disease and cancers of the brain, liver and skin.
Foods Sources of Alpha-Carotene
Alpha-carotene reduces risk of disease because it is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the damaging effects of free radicals on our cells and energy producing mitochondria. It’s best to consume organic vegetables and fruits as your primary source of alpha-carotene. You can find rich sources in yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash. Dark green leafy vegetables including broccoli, green beans and peas, spinach and leaf lettuce are also excellent sources.
Fruit Shown to Cut Lung Cancer Risk by 23%
The results of a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention reveals that eating a wide variety of different types of fruits can lower the risk of lung cancer by as much as 23%. Interestingly, the study demonstrated that the risk was reduced more by the number of different fruits consumed and was not dependent on quantities eaten. Eating from more than eight sub-groups was shown to provide the most protection. Risk declined by 4% for each additional variety added to the diet.
Research continues to validate the critical importance that proper diet plays in preventing lifestyle illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Our cells have evolved through generations to rely on carotenoids such as alpha-carotene for protection from free radical damage. As health minded individuals, we are charged with the responsibility to eat from a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and foods in their natural form to prevent disease and increase lifespan.
John Phillip is a diet, health and nutrition researcher and writer with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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