Our parents always told us that vegetables are good for us but a great new piece of research has shown that eating carrots regularly can help to prevent cancer and heart disease, which are the largest causes if pre-mature death in the United Kingdom.
The researchers particularly note how certain vegetables - including carrots - can lower the risk of lung-cancer.
Scientists have found that vegetables containing high levels of carotenoids (which contains various anti-oxidants) help to prevent many forms of disease, including cancer and heart conditions.
In addition to carrots, other types of vegetables high in carotenoids include sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, broccoli, green beans and peas. Essentially, vegetables with a yellow, orange or dark-green colour tend to be high in the anti-oxidant.
Researchers conducted a study over a 14 year period with a sample of over 15,000 people aged 20 years and over. The research was conducted by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, United States.
The research discovered that vegetables containing high levels of carotenoids (including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene) serve as antioxidants fighting oxygen-related damage to DNA, proteins and fats, which is the main cause of cancer and heart disease.
Over the 14-year period individuals who had high blood levels of the carotenoids anti-oxidants were less likely to suffer cancer or heart disease and therefore had a lower chance of dying.
Participants in the study (which started in 1988) went through a health assessment and gave blood at 6 year intervals. Over the study 3,810 participants passed away (out of a sample of just over 15,000 people).
Participants with significantly higher blood-levels of the anti-oxidants found in carrots and other vegetables had a far lower chance of suffering disease and dying. It is possible that these vegetables help to prevent the emergence of cancer cells in the body.
The researchers particularly noted that vegetables containing high levels of alpha-carotene were associated with a reduced risk of suffering lung cancer.
More information on the study can be found online in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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