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Carotenoids May Help Lower Oxidative Stress in Men

Oxidative stress can be a contributing factor to chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and certain types of cancer. A recent study suggests that eating foods high in carotenoids may help lower oxidative stress markers in middle-aged men.

Participants in the study included 296 healthy men with an average age of 50.5 years and an average BMI of 25.8 kg/m2. All of the participants filled out food frequency questionnaires that included 105 questions about milk and dairy products, fats, breads and bread substitutes, cereals, fruits, legumes, vegetables, meats, eggs, beverages, and sweets.

The researchers used the questionnaires to assess intake of five carotenoid types: b-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein plus zeaxanthin, b-carotene, and a-carotene. They found that there was a significant inverse association between non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and consumption of lutein plus zeaxanthin, b-carotene, and total carotenoids.

They also found that the Castelli index – which measures lipids -- lowered as daily consumption of lycopene, b-carotene, and total carotenoids rose.

Researchers from the Federal University of Viçosa and the Federal University of S?o Jo?o del-Rei in Brazil conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 16, 2015, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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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