Avoid a carotenoid rut...

Scientific discoveries and ongoing research

Scientists suspect some less-studied relatives of beta-carotene--members of the same carotenoid family--are good bets to be antioxidant cancer fighters, too. Using newly available data on the carotenoid content of foods, researchers at the University of Hawaii found that higher intakes of not just beta-carotene, but also alpha-carotene and lutein--two other carotenoids--were linked to lower risks of lung cancer in a study of over 1,200 people. Note: Carrots, everybody's favorite source of beta-carotene, are high in alpha-carotene but a poor source of lutein. You can find lots of lutein in broccoli, green peas, celery, spinach and kale, but little alpha-carotene. Does this mean you need to memorize the carotenoid tables? Nope. By eating lots of different fruits and veggies, you can keep your bases--and all your carotenoids--covered (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, May/June 1993).

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By Holly McCord, R.D., with Teresa A. Yeykal

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