Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables May Help ALS
review tied foods like carrots, spinach, and yams to lower risk of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Eating dark-green vegetables and bright orange, red or yellow fruits rich in antioxidants may help prevent or delay the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to a new review.
experts found that expanding consumption of carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene and lutein, might reduce the risk for this progressive neurological disease, which attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
mangoes, yams, and Carrots are rich in beta-carotenes, and spinach, collard greens, and egg yolks are good sources of lutein.
The review found, however, that diets rich in the antioxidants lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and vitamin C do not apparently decrease the risk for ALS, which causes the muscles to waste away and eventually results in paralysis.
The study was published online Jan. 29 in the journal Annals of Neurology.
“ALS is a devastating degenerative disease that generally develops between the ages of 40 and 70, and affects more men than women,” senior study author Dr. Alberto Ascherio, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a journal news release. “Understanding the impact of food consumption on ALS improvement is important.”
Analyzing information on more than 1 million people, the researchers identified nearly 1,100 cases of ALS. The researchers found that increased overall carotenoid intake — especially among those who ate diets rich in beta-carotene and lutein — seemed to be linked to a lower risk for the devastating condition.
Those who ate more carotenoids daily also were more likely to exercise, have an advanced degree, have increased vitamin C intake and take vitamin C and E supplements.
The specialists pointed out, however, that long-term vitamin C supplements did not lower people’s risk for this degenerative disease.
“Our findings suggest that devouring carotenoid-rich foods may help prevent or delay the onset of ALS,” Ascherio finished up. “Further food-based investigations are needed to examine the effect of dietary nutrients on ALS.”
The findings, which used information from five previous reviews, do not establish a cause-and-effect protective relationship between carotenoid consumption and ALS risk.
About 20,000 to 30,000 Americans have ALS, and 5,000 more are diagnosed with the disease every year, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.