Article and Image Source : Nutraceuticals World
Carotenoids, which are plant pigments responsible for bright red, yellow, and orange hues in carrots, sweet potatoes, and other abundant food sources, have neuroprotective properties later in life, according to a large-scale, population-based study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
In the study, researchers observed the long-term dietary intakes of carotenoids, and diets in general, in a population of 49,493 female registered nurses with a mean age of 48 years old in 1984. The nurses each provided a series of food frequency questionnaires to researchers, which were collected in 1984, 1986, and every four years afterward before the completion of surveys in 2006.
The cognitive function of the tens of thousands of participants was evaluated using a subjective cognitive function test, a seven-item questionnaire on changes in memory and cognition. Other metrics included measurements of APOE genotype, and concurrent cognitive function and cognitive decline measured by telephone based neuropsychological tests. The mean values of the scores assessed in 2012 and 2014 were categorized as “good,” “moderate,” and “poor.”
Higher intake of total carotenoids was associated with substantially lower odds of moderate or poor cognitive function for the nurses later in life, after researchers controlled their data. Also noteworthy was the fact that these findings were consistent independent of the proportions of carotenoids consumed, including beta-carotene, dietary beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin.