(NaturalNews) Achieving good health and avoiding disease involves eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods on a regular basis, particularly those that together provide the full spectrum of phytonutrients that each contribute to a different aspect of good health. Unfortunately, many people are not getting the variety of nutrients they need to stay healthy, including a third of American women that do not consume even the minimal recommendations of fruits and vegetables, which contain important carotenoids that support breast and ovarian health.
Carotenoids are the phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables that give them their rich, unique colors. In women, these organic pigments work to protect them from ovarian and breast cancers, as well as guard against heart disease, inflammation and eye disease, among other things. They are also powerful immune system boosters that improve overall vitality.
But according to a new report called America's Phytonutrient Report: Women's Health by Color, many women are not eating enough carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables, especially women younger than 45 years of age.
Based on fruit and vegetable consumption patterns, women over 45 consume 50 percent more beta-carotene, 40 percent more alpha-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin and 10 percent more beta-cryptoxanthin, than younger women do. But overall, women in general are not getting enough of any of them.
The original report, America's Phytonutrient Report: Quantifying the Gap, found that 80 percent of American adults in general do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, and are thus deficient in important phytonutrients. So researchers are urging people to incorporate more varied fruits and vegetables into their diets.
Cooked pumpkin, for instance, is a rich source of alpha- and beta-carotenes as well as beta-cryptoxanthin. And cooked kale is rich in lutein/zeaxanthin, containing three times as much as raw spinach. Each fruit and vegetable color contains different types of carotenoids so it is important to eat from all categories.
To learn more about the benefits of carotenoid phytonutrients and to see where your favorite fruits and vegetables land on the "Phytonutrient Spectrum", check out the following page: http://www.nutrilite.com/color/