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Carotenoids Associated With Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

An extensive analysis suggests that having higher circulating levels of carotenoids in your blood stream may significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The researchers looked at eight studies that focused on the association between breast cancer and carotenoid levels. In total, there were 3,055 participants and 3,956 control cases. They found that women with higher levels of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, lycopene, and total carotenoids were less likely to develop breast cancer than those with lower levels.

Researchers for this study were based at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Their results were published online ahead of print on December 6, 2012, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Carotenoids are the phytochemicals that provide the bright red, orange or yellow color to many fruits and vegetables. They serve as antioxidants and can be a good source of vitamin A. They have been shown in previous research to protect against cardiovascular disease, macular eye disease and some cancers.

If you want to increase your carotenoid intake, make sure that your meals contain a variety of fruits and vegetables of all colors. The beneficial actions of carotenoids are optimal when a variety of carotenoids are consumed together.

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