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Women Smokers May Need More of This Pigment

The health risks associated with smoking vary from cancer to respiratory illnesses to macular degeneration. However, a recent study shows that carotenoids may help women who smoke reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

Carotenoids are organic pigments that give plants, fruits and vegetables color. Many carotenoids are potent antioxidants that may help reduce oxidative stress in the body, which is a side effect of tobacco smoke.

This recent study was published in the February 2010 issue of the European Journal of Cancer.

For the study, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm followed over 35,000 women for nearly a decade. Over the course of the study, 1,008 cases of breast cancer were documented.

The researchers found that participants with the highest levels of beta-carotene had a 65% reduced risk of developing breast cancer and those with the highest levels of alpha- carotene had a 68% reduction.

Although more research is necessary to verify the link between carotenoid intake and breast cancer risk, carotenoids have already been shown to provide a large number of other health benefits.

These benefits include improvements in bone and heart health and reductions in the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

You can up your carotenoid intake by eating more green leafy vegetables or by taking a high quality supplement.

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