Eating foods rich in antioxidants may help to live longer, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. These foods will help to fight against diseases, which can help prolong life. Results of this study showed that people with high levels of antioxidant alpha-carotene in their blood had a 39% reduction in the risk of death due to diseases, like heart diseases and cancer, when compared to those who had low levels of antioxidants.
“The findings of this 14-year-study shows that having more vegetables and fruits in one's diet will prevent premature death”, says researcher Chaoyang Li, MD, PhD, of the CDC and colleagues. Alpha-carotene belongs to carotenoids, an antioxidant group that contains beta-carotene and lycopene. Vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash, and dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnip greens, collards, and lettuce are rich in alpha-carotene.
Some of the previous studies had shown that eating more of vegetables and fruits may reduce the risk of diseases. But, it was not shown whether beta-carotene supplements will reduce the risk of death due to heart disease and cancer. Researchers wanted to see whether other antioxidants may also reduce the risk of diseases.
In this study researchers analyzed the data of 15,318 adults who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. They focused on the relationship between alpha-carotene levels in blood and the risk of the death in these people. Blood samples were collected from the participants between 1984 and 1994 and followed through 2006.
Analysis of data showed that participants who had high levels of alpha-carotene in the blood had a low risk of death during the follow-up period. As the blood levels of alpha-carotene increased, the protective effect also increased considerably. People who had two to three micrograms per decilitre of alpha-carotene in blood had a 23% lower risk of death, when compared to those who had low levels of this antioxidant. Those who had the highest levels of alpha-carotene (9 micrograms per decilitre) had a 39% lower risk.