Eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants may help prevent the muscle-wasting disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a new study.
"Our findings suggest that [eating] carotenoid-rich foods could help prevent or delay the onset of [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)]," says researcher Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, a doctoral student in the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
This research shows the carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein offered the most benefit. Beta-carotene can be found in carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. Lutein is in dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale.
Lower ALS Risk
The study involved more than 1 million people, in which there were 1,093 cases of ALS.
The researchers recorded the diets of each participant during the preceding year, including detailed information on the use of multivitamins, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene supplements.
People who ate foods with the most carotenoids had a 25% lower risk of ALS compared to people who ate the least.
Those who ate lots of carotenoids also tended to exercise more, have more advanced education, take in higher amounts of dietary vitamin C, and were generally more likely to take vitamin C and E supplements.
The effect was stronger among people who had never smoked; smoking can affect carotenoid levels.
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SOURCE: Medscape Medical News