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Live Longer with This Little-Known Nutrient

Live Longer with This Little-Known Nutrient

If there were one amazing nutrient that had the power to reduce your mortality risk by more than one-third, you'd be sure to get plenty of it, wouldn't you?

Then resolve to eat more squash as well as any other orange and green vegetables you can get your hands on. These richly hued vegetables tend to be high in alpha carotene, a type of carotene that may help lower the risk of death from just about any cause.

Health-Guarding Goodness
Yep, a new 14-year study showed that people with the highest blood levels of alpha carotene enjoyed a 39 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, including heart disease and cancer. Alpha carotene is a hardworking, free-radical-fighting antioxidant that's found in almost all colorful veggies, but particularly yellow, orange, and dark green ones like winter squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, peas, broccoli, and kale. Alpha carotene is similar to beta carotene, but researchers think that alpha carotene may be a bit mightier at slowing and stopping the growth of certain types of cancer cells. (Find out how much just one extra serving of veggies a day can cut your risk of cancer.)

Exclusive Nutrition
But here's the rub with alpha carotene: Antioxidant supplements don't usually contain it. And, what's more, studies haven't found that carotenoid supplements like beta carotene are very effective disease fighters. So it's extra important to meet your carotene needs -- alpha and all --- with a vegetable-filled diet.

Take the first steps to growing younger and healthier with the RealAge Test.

Medically reviewed in March 2019.

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