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Beta Carotene and Heart Health

posted Nov 23, 2016, 6:32 AM by   [ updated Nov 23, 2016, 10:13 AM ]
In the beginning of this month, we not only learned that beta carotene turns to vitamin A in the body – which is especially important for eye health – but we also learned that it is an antioxidant.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants play a major role in fighting free radicals from our bodies. Free radicals are naturally formed in the body through breathing, for example, but also through other environmental factors like cigarette smoke. Without antioxidants, free radicals would run rampant in our bodies and damage our cells, a process that could lead to heart disease when cholesterol is oxidized.

Does this mean all sources of beta carotene are good for me?

Not quite. Unless your doctor recommends it, steer clear of the supplement version as one study found that beta carotene supplement actually increased cardiovascular death. On the other hand, studies do show that your risk for cardiovascular disease can be reduced by eating foods rich in antioxidants, which includes the beta carotene-rich orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.

Add it to your plate!

So stock up on carrots, and take advantage this month and go for the local squash dishes we have available in most of our cafeterias to get an extra beta carotene boost!

For more on beta carotene and heart health click here.