HealthEat the rainbow: How colorful fruits and veggies could prevent atherosclerosis

Eat the rainbow: How colorful fruits and veggies could prevent atherosclerosis

What products protect against atherosclerosis?
What products protect against atherosclerosis?
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1:58 PM EST, January 15, 2024

Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease, a significant risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health issues.

The disease appears due to a process in which fatty plaques accumulate on artery walls, potentially creating so-called atherosclerotic plaques over time. This process can lead to the narrowing or even blockage of arteries, resulting in organ ischemia.

Can diet eliminate the risk of atherosclerosis?

Studies indicate that carotenoids, robust antioxidants capable of neutralizing disease-causing free radicals or molecules, effectively reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Carotenoids – beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin – can help impede the development of atherosclerosis by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation, two key factors contributing to atherosclerosis.

Carotenoids are found in vegetables and fruits and are identified by natural pigmentation, giving them their characteristic color – red, orange, or yellow.

Sources of carotenoids

  • Carrots: A rich source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
  • Spinach: Contains lutein and zeaxanthin, crucial for eye health.
  • Pumpkin: An excellent source of alpha- and beta-carotene.
  • Oranges: High in beta-cryptoxanthin, another potent carotenoid.
  • Bell peppers: All bell pepper colors feature diverse types of carotenoids.
  • Mango: A reputable source of beta-carotene.
  • Tomatoes: Contain lycopene, a carotenoid known for its anti-cancer properties.

A diet enriched with fruits and vegetables containing carotenoids can form part of atherosclerosis prevention. However, it does not substitute other vital aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as regular physical activity, weight management, abstaining from smoking, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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