RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—You may have heard of beta-carotene, but what about its cousin, alpha-carotene? In a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed the data on over 15,000 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. They found that the more alpha-carotene these people had in their blood, the lower their risks of disease and death. Alpha-carotene may not be solely responsible for these health outcomes, according to the researchers, but they think it’s certainly part of the story.
Other studies have shown that eating more orange and dark green vegetables—both of which are high in alpha-carotene—can improve health in several ways. Most notably, these foods protect against heart-damaging, cancer-causing free radicals, and boost your immune and reproductive systems.
The great news is that alpha-carotene can be found in concentrated amounts in lots of foods. Top sources include pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro, thyme, green beans, Swiss chard, and apples. A lot of these are abundant this time of year, and many are common additions to the holiday table. Thanks to the following dishes from the Rodale Recipe Finder, it’ll be easy to boost your alpha-carotene intake through the holiday season and beyond.