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Does a Carrot a Day Keep Heart Disease Away?

Researchers from the University of Minnesota, Wageningen University, the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the German Institute for Human Nutition found that increased consumption of alpha and beta carotenes may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease deaths by 20%.

The results of the study were published in the February 2008 edition of Journal of Nutrition, the journal of the American Society for Nutrition.

The researchers studied 559 men, average age of 72, with no chronic diseases at the start of the study.  After 15 years, the researchers found that an increased intake of alpha-carotene was associated with a 19% reduction in the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.  Increased intake of beta-carotene was associated with a 20% reduction.

However, the researchers did not find increased consumption of other carotenoids such as vitamin C, alpha and gamma tocopherol had no influence on the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.

This lead researchers to conclude that dietary intakes of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are inversely associated with cardiovascular disease mortality in elderly men. That there is not an important role for other carotenoids, tocopherols, or vitamin C.

Carrots were primarily responsible for the increased amounts of carotene in the study group.  So go ahead and add some carrots to your dinner tonight, your heart just may thank you!

Journal of Nutrition; February 2008, Volume 138, Pages 344-350; "Both alpha- and beta-Carotene, but Not Tocopherols and Vitamin C, Are Inversely Related to 15-Year Cardiovascular Mortality in Dutch Elderly Men";  B. Buijsse, E.J.M. Feskens, L. Kwape, F.J. Kok, D. Kromhout
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