Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (October 2012), researchers with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School reviewed eight international studies and pooled their results. The studies included over 7,000 women with 3,000 as breast cancer patients and 4,000 control subjects. What they found after adjusting for variables was exciting and surprising.
“Significantly high” inverse relationships were found between high blood levels of carotenoids and breast cancer. What this means is that women with more circulating carotenoids in their blood were less likely to have breast cancer.
The study abstract concludes:
“This comprehensive prospective analysis suggests women with higher circulating levels of Î±-carotene, Î²-carotene, lutein+zeaxanthin, lycopene, and total carotenoids may be at reduced risk of breast cancer.”
So, what are carotenoids and how can you ingest more of them? Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments in fresh fruits and vegetables. They include many well-known substances including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. While the researchers found that carotenoid levels varied from woman to woman and study to study, all showed that inverse relationship to breast cancer.
These carotenoids are what give brightly coloured produce their beautiful colours. They can be found in the richest concentration in those foods that are the richest in colour.
Some of these foods include:
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Spinach, kale, wheatgrass and other leafy dark greens
The optimal diet? Get Ann Wigmore’s RECIPES FOR LONGER LIFE.