The Secret to a Long Life? The Carrot!
Serum α-Carotene Concentrations and Risk of Death Among US Adults. The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. Much research has been conducted relating total carotenoids—and β-carotene in particular—to risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Limited data are emerging to implicate the important role of α-carotene in the development of CVD or cancer.Methods; We assessed the direct relationship between α-carotene concentrations and risk of death among 15 318 US adults 20 years and older who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. We used Cox proportional hazard regression analyses to estimate the relative risk for death from all causes and selected causes associated with serum
α-carotene concentrations.Results; Compared with participants with serum α-carotene concentrations of 0 to 1 µg/dL (to convert to micromoles per liter, multiply by 0.01863), those with higher serum levels had a lower risk of death from all causes (P < .001 for linear trend): the relative risk for death was 0.77 (95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.87) among those with α-carotene concentrations of 2 to 3 µg/dL, 0.73 (0.65-0.83) among those with concentrations of 4 to 5 µg/dL, 0.66 (0.55-0.79) among those with concentrations of 6 to 8 µg/dL, and 0.61 (0.51-0.73) among those with concentrations of 9 µg/dL or higher after adjustment for potential confounding variables. We also found significant associations between serum α-carotene concentrations and risk of death from CVD (P = .007), cancer (P = .02), and all other causes (P < .001). The association between serum α-carotene concentrations and risk of death from all causes was significant in most subgroups stratified by demographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, and health risk factors.Conclusions Serum α-carotene concentrations were inversely associated with risk of death from all causes, CVD, cancer, and all other causes. These findings support increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a means of preventing premature death. Authors: Chaoyang Li, MD, PhD; Earl S. Ford, MD, MPH; Guixiang Zhao, MD, PhD; Lina S. Balluz, MPH, ScD; Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS; Simin Liu, MD, ScD. Author Affiliations: Division of
Behavioral Surveillance, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (Drs Li and Balluz), and Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Drs Ford, Zhao, and Giles), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; and Departments of Epidemiology and Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles (Dr Liu).Sources: Archives of Internal Medicine, professional medical journal published by the American Medical Association & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta.Dr. Chaoyang Li; Specialties; Internal Medicine, Hematology, Hematology, Oncology, Medical Oncology. Dr. Li attended medical school at Henan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and graduated in 1985 having 26 years experience. Additional Hematology / Oncology training was conducted at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern. ~ The carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, red, white, and yellow varieties exist. It has a crisp texture when fresh. The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot, although the greens are edible as well. It is a domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged and more palatable, less woody-textured edible taproot.It is a biennial plant which grows a rosette of leaves in the
spring and summer, while building up the stout taproot, which stores large amounts of sugars for the plant to flower in the second year. The flowering stem grows to about 1 metre (3 ft) tall, with an umbel of white flowers that produce a fruit called a mericarp by botanists, which is a type of schizocarp. The carrot gets its characteristic and bright orange colour from β-carotene, which is metabolised into vitamin A in humans when bile salts are present in the intestines.Massive overconsumption of carrots can cause carotenosis, a benign condition in which the skin turns orange. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals.Lack of vitamin A can cause poor vision, including night vision, and vision can be restored by adding it back into the diet. An urban legend says eating large amounts of carrots will allow one to see in the dark. The legend developed from stories of British gunners in World War II, who were able to shoot down German planes in the darkness of night. The legend arose during the Battle of Britain when the RAF circulated a story about their pilots’ carrot consumption as an attempt to cover up the discovery and effective use of radar technologies in engaging enemy planes, as well as the use of red light (which does not destroy night vision) in aircraft instruments.It reinforced existing German folklore and helped to encourage Britons—looking to improve their night vision during the blackouts—to grow and eat the vegetable. Ethnomedically, the roots are used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and tonsillitis or constipation. Good News International
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