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Eating Carrots Lowers Breast Cancer Risk Thanks to Alpha Carotene Content

The consumption of carrots has been linked with a lower risk in certain forms of breast cancer, says a new study.

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The risk of developing certain types of breast cancer that are otherwise hard to treat can be reduced by up to 60%, according to the new research conducted by an international team of scientists. Breast cancer exists in various forms: there are types that are sensitive to certain hormones, and are thus responsive to hormone therapy, and types that are not.

When the diets of 3,000 European women (including those suffering from breast cancer, and those without) were investigated, it was found that those consuming the greatest amount of foods rich in carotene, namely carrots and peppers, had a 40 to 60% lower risk of developing non-hormone sensitive breast cancer (for instance, “oestrogen receptor negative”) than the group of participants who ate the least. This type of cancer is harder to treat because using female hormones will not affect it. This is where carotene can make a difference.

The findings of the study show that two types of carotene — beta carotene and alpha carotene — help in decreasing the breast cancer risk. Alpha carotene was found to have a greater effect though.

Furthermore, another analysis showed that vitamin C might shield women from the other forms of the disease, oestrogen and progresterone-sensitive breast cancers.

On the other hand, the researchers point out that dietary supplements involving vitamin C and carotene will not necessarily help in reducing the risk, even if their results show that high concentrations of the compounds seem to have beneficial effects.

Dr Richards Berks from the organisation Breast Cancer Now, commenting on the study findings, highlights the importance of healthy diets (which would include carrots) in protecting against diseases. According to him, the risk of breast cancer and other diseases can be decreased by adhering to healthy eating lifestyles.

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