There is no real Fountain of Youth, no magical potion to keep us young forever. There are no pills or lotions that will erase time. We can search, dream and wish- but to live longer and look better it will take work. Yes, there's that word-work.
The work that we will discuss here is a continuation of the previous blogs on diet on how a nutritious diet may be beneficial in preventing cancer among other diseases and aging problems. So, while there may not be a Fountain of Youth, there are ways to stay healthy longer. One of those ways is by following mom's advice from so long ago-"eat your vegetables".
As stated before Beta-Carotene is an important antioxidant in the body, protecting the cells from free radicals. Studies have shown that Beta-carotene has help in Alpha-Carotene. In some studies it is thought that Alpha-carotene may be even stronger than Beta-carotene.
Alpha-carotene, one of the most abundant carotenoids in the North American diet. It is a "provitamin A" compound. It is among approximately 50 carotenoids able to be converted in the body into retinol, an active form of vitamin A. It is approximately half the vitamin A activity of beta-carotene.
Alpha-carotene can be found in yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and dark-green vegetables. Some of the foods are:
These foods should be eaten raw or lightly steams for the best benefits.
Alpha-carotene is good for the cells protecting them from free radicals which break down the bodies cells and can lead to disease. It has been shown the ability to stimulate cell communication. By promoting proper communication between cells, carotenoids may play a role in preventing cancer. Alpha-carotene enhances the function of the immune system. There are thoughts that it may play a role in the prevention of the following diseases:
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Age-related macular degeneration
Studies have shown that people with the highest levels of Alpha-carotene in their blood had a 39% lower risk of premature death from any cause, including cancer.
The Deficiency Symptoms of an inadequate intake of Alpha-Carotene can lead to chronic disease. It increases the chance of free radical or tissue damage. This could result in heart disease and cancers. Prolonged deficiency in the diet can lead to vitamin A deficiency. A high intake of carotenoid-containing foods do not have a toxic side effect.
What might contribute to a deficiency? Carotenoids -a fat soluble substance need the presence of dietary fat for proper absorption in the digestive tract. Your alpha carotene levels may be impaired by a diet low in fat or you may have a medical condition that causes a reduction in the body's ability to absorb dietary fat. Among the conditions are pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn's disease, celiac sprue, cystic fibrosis and more. If you do not eat enough fruits and vegetables or if you smoke or drink you may have lower levels of alpha-carotene.
What medications or nutrients effect alpha-carotene? Cholesterol-lowering medications referred to as bile acid sequestrants lower blood levels of carotenoids. Margarines enriched with plant sterols, Olestra, a fat substitute added to snack foods, may decrease the absorption of carotenoids.
So there it is-if you want tolive longer and healthier, eat your vegetables. Especially those brightly colored.