A substantial fruit and vegetable intake have been associated with a decreased risk of various chronic medical conditions. The antioxidant properties of carotenoids, commonly found in fruits and vegetables, could be one explanation for this finding. Increased dietary carotenoid consumption and levels of individual plasma carotenoids may be associated with the decreased risk of cancer and cardio vascular disease. Levels of individual plasma carotenoids have been associated with specific risk factors for chronic medical conditions such a diet, exercise and cholesterol. Some authors suggest that total plasma carotenoids could be a marker of a diet high in fruits and vegetable. Farwell et al have examined the association between various traditional and more novel health risk factors with total plasma carotenoids in a cross-sectional sample of middle-aged and older men.
Total plasma carotenoid levels were primarily influenced by smoking, alcohol ingestion, lipid parameters and a-tocopherol. Current smoking was associated with lower levels of total plasma carotenoids, while daily alcohol ingestion, increasing plasma levels of LDL-C, HDL-C and a-tocopherol were each significantly associated with increasing levels of total plasma carotenoids.
Farwell et al 2008 The relationship between total plasma carotenoids and risk factors for chronic disease among middle aged men and older men Brit J Nutrition vol 100 , 883-889.
- Martin Eastwood