Top Tips for Healthier Eating

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8. Buy and prepare a deep-orange vegetable every week.

You may know that beta-carotene is the phytochemical that gives carrots and other orange vegetables their color. Since beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A inside the body, orange vegetables are sometimes referred to as being high in vitamin A. Beta-carotene has long been known to boost eye health and immunity, but the nutrients in dark yellow and orange vegetables (including those in the family of beta-carotene, carotenoids) can do even more. Just as with green vegetables, benefits of eating orange plants include strong bones and a reduced cancer risk.

Be cautious about using supplements to get your carotenoids. Although some studies have shown that supplementation can slow the progression of some diseases (lutein supplements help prevent macular degeneration, which causes blindness), other research has shown that it may actually increase the risk of other diseases (beta-carotene supplements have been associated with lung cancer in people who smoke or have been exposed to asbestos). Always check with your physician and/or consult a registered dietitian when considering supplements.

Originally Published November 5, 2009

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