High blood levels of antioxidants appear to be associated with longer life. Oxygen-related damage to DNA, proteins and fats may play a role in the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene are all carotenoids with antioxidant properties which can counteract this damage.
There are several dozen carotenoids that have antioxidant activity in the foods that we eat. Beta-carotene is the most well-known, since in most countries it is the most common in fruits and vegetables. However, in the U.S., lycopene from tomatoes now is consumed in approximately the same amount as beta-carotene.
Antioxidants (including carotenoids) have been studied for their ability to prevent chronic disease. Findings suggest eating more fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases.
Chaoyang Li, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the relationship between alpha-carotene and increased mortality risk for a JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine study. Among 15,318 adults who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-Up Study, researchers assessed wellness in participants over a 16-year follow-up.
Participants with higher levels of alpha-carotene in the blood had a lower mortality risk compared to those with lower levels. Higher alpha-carotene concentration also appeared to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. “Alpha-carotene is chemically similar to beta-carotene but may be more effective at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the brain, liver and skin,” the authors write.
Consumption of yellow-orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash) and dark-green (broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnips greens, collards, and leaf lettuce) vegetables, which have a high alpha-carotene content, has been previously associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer.
In addition to a diet high in levels of antioxidants, traditional Chinese medicine therapies can aid in promoting longevity and wellness. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy can:
• Reduce stress.
• Restore balance.
• Increase vitality.
• Enhance the body’s natural healing abilities.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for preventative health care as well as for enhanced wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.