A diet high in carotenoids may improve women’s health

  • The researchers reviewed studies looking at the effects of carotenoids on women’s health.
  • They found that a higher intake of carotenoids can reduce the risk of developing several health conditions.
  • They concluded that given the high likelihood of helping and the low likelihood of harm, approaches targeting carotenoid intake in women might be beneficial.

Although women tend to live longer than men, they also have more health problems.

Similarly, while women tend to have more robust immune systems than men, they also represent 80% of autoimmune diseases.

Many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related macular degeneration, are more common in women than in men.

Some to research suggests that these differences may arise from different levels of exposure to oxidative stress, both from lifestyle factors and from internal factors such as endocrine differences.

If so, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements in the diet may be a benign way to reduce oxidative and inflammatory stress and thus improve health.

Recently, researchers have reviewed studies looking at the effect of diet on autoimmune diseases in women.

They found that consuming pigmented carotenoids may be important in preventing visual and cognitive loss.

The review was published in Nutritional Neuroscience.

“This review builds on decades of previous work conclusively showing that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables – many of which contain carotenoids, responsible for some of the bright colors in fruits and vegetables – is associated with healthy aging. health and longevity, and a lower risk of chronic disease,” said Amy Keller Ph.D., an assistant professor in the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and diabetes at the University of Colorado at Denver, not involved in the exam.

“The reasons why this is so are likely multifactorial, but possible reasons why carotenoids are beneficial are due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity,” she added.

In the review, the researchers noted that low bone mineral density can be detected in women in their thirties and accelerated after menopause.

Studies have shown that certain carotenoids can slow bone loss.

These include lycopene – found in tomatoes, as well as beta-carotene and lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) which are found in leafy greens and eggs.

The researchers also noted that higher levels of L and Z are linked to lower incidence and prevalence of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Previous research suggests that carotenoids inhibit beta-amyloid deposits in the brain and slow fibril formation, both associated with dementia.

They further noted that L and Z increase cellular efficiency and improve cognitive function in children, young adults, the elderly, and people with cognitive impairment.

Other research shows that L and Z are crucial for infant development. One study found that women in the highest quartile of L and Z intake had children with a 38% less risk of poor vision when assessed three years later.

The researchers added that other studies show that high levels of serum carotenoids have also been linked to a reduced risk of:

Asked how pigmented carotenoids such as L and Z can improve health, Professor Billy Hammond of the University of Georgia School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the study’s authors, said declared Medical News Today:

“The old adage that you are what you eat is literally true. What you eat influences the composition of your brain and the chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones involved in its functioning.

He explained that the brain is made up of around 60% fat, which makes it particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. To counteract any potential damage, our brains typically incorporate fat-soluble antioxidants from foods like eggs and leafy greens to protect the brain. Problems arise because modern diets tend to contain fewer of these antioxidants than necessary.

Although carotenoids consumed in food may improve health outcomes, to research suggests that supplemental versions of these nutrients may not produce the same effect. This is because individual nutrients may not affect the body in the same way as when consumed as part of a fruit or vegetable.

With that in mind, Wendy L. Bennett, MD., associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, not involved in the study, said DTM:

“Taking vitamin E or beta‐carotene supplements will not prevent or delay the onset of AMD. The same probably goes for vitamin C and multivitamin (Centrum Silver), [as found in a clinical trial].”

“There is no evidence for other antioxidant supplements, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin supplements can have harmful effects and clear evidence of their benefits is needed before they can be recommended,” a- she added.

The researchers concluded that given the high likelihood of helping and low likelihood of harm, approaches targeting L and Z intake in women may be beneficial.

Asked about the limitations of the study, Dr. Keller noted that future work should elucidate the mechanisms underlying the clinical findings reported in this review.

Dr. Hammond added that it is very difficult to relate a single intake such as vitamin E to a complex parameter that develops over a lifetime. He added:

“Most degenerative diseases, like dementia, are as complex as aging itself and involve many exposures that matter little at any one time, but matter a lot when aggregated over 50 years. Imagine, for example, that a given food component lowers your risk by one percent per year. [It may seem small, however] 1% per year for 70 years means a risk reduction of about 30%, which is huge.

Dr Bennett noted, however, that the researchers did not conduct original research, meaning their synthesis and summary of the evidence could be biased.

Asked about other nutrients that may have a protective effect on women’s health, Dr. Keller said:

“In addition to carotenoids, flavonoids are also responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables. Our team is investigating the potential of a flavonoid, (-)-epicatechin, found in commonly consumed foods such as chocolate and tea. This compound improves vascular health in our studies.As women lose their protection against cardiovascular risks after menopause, supporting their vascular health through nutrients with targeted bioactivity may help women’s health in aging.

Dr Hammond added that general lifestyle factors, such as exercising more and eating a healthy diet, are also key to improving health. He said: ‘It’s common to think of single components of diet type drugs or ‘one pill for every disease’. Although supplementation is sometimes a good strategy, optimizing the diet is your best first approach.

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