Posted on Jun 30, 2023, 3 p.m.
According to a study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition conducted by researchers from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) eating carotene-rich foods like carrots might be helping to keep your arteries clean, finding that carotene-rich diets are linked with a lower degree of atherosclerosis in the arteries and thus a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Carotenes are bioactive compounds in orange, green, and yellow vegetables and fruits such as spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, sweet potatoes, loquats, pumpkins, mangoes, apricots, and papayas. This study suggests that they are potentially capable of keeping atherosclerosis in check.
Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fat on the inner walls of the blood vessels in the form of plaques that causes a narrowing of the vessel’s internal diameter hindering blood circulation. These plaques can also rupture and form clots that obstruct blood flow which can lead to heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) when blood does not reach the heart or ischaemic strokes when blood does not reach the brain.
Diet has been shown to have a significant role in the development of cardiovascular diseases, this study investigated the importance of carotenes. While previous research has suggested that carotenes could have a protective effect on warding off atherosclerosis, most results have been inconclusive.
“However, the studies carried out to date have not been conclusive and it even appears that, when administered as a supplement, they have a prejudicial effect,” says Gemma Chiva Blanch, of the August Pi Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) Translational research in diabetes, lipids, and obesity group.
For this study, 204 participants of the DIABIMCAP Study cohort between the ages of 50-70 years old were recruited who had their blood analyzed for the concentration of carotenoids and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques in their carotid arteries via ultrasound imaging. The researchers report that their findings support other research suggesting that consuming an assortment of fruits and vegetables helps to protect the heart from disease.
“A diet rich in fruit and vegetables results in higher plasmatic carotene concentrations, which are associated with a lesser atherosclerotic plaque burden.”
“The study concludes that the greater the concentration of carotenes in the blood, the lesser the atherosclerotic burden, particularly in women. […] So, we can confirm that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and thus in carotenes lowers the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases,” explains Chiva Blanch.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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