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Originally published January 9 2013

Prevent heart attacks by eating more carrots, sweet potato, and tomatoes

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) A Finnish medical study conducted in the Kuopio region of Finland, the Kuopio Ischaemic* Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD), was conducted by the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio and reported in the European Journal of Public Health December of 2012. * (ischaemic - lacking blood)

The study took 1031 men in the Kuopio region aged 46 to 65. Researchers took their blood levels of lycopene, alpha and beta-carotene, retinol, and alpha-tocopherol, then followed up over several years.

The study concluded: "Low serum lycopene and beta-carotene increase the risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in men." An AMI is a heart attack. Of the 1031 men, 194 had heart attacks during a time span averaging 11.5 years. [1]

So obviously the inverse is true: Higher lycopene and b-carotene blood levels reduce heart attack risks. Instead of depending on supplements to increase those carotenoid blood levels, let's have a look at the foods that provide them. All of them should be from organic sources, of course.

Foods that contain lots of lycopene and beta carotene

Tomatoes are high in lycopene. But there is a counter intuitive aspect with tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than raw tomatoes. This includes tomato sauce and even tomato ketchup!

This is simply because the lycopene becomes more bio-available through cooking or crushing, which is done to create tomato paste or crushed tomatoes for creating sauces. When crushed tomatoes are mixed with a fat, such as olive oil, the bio-availability is increased further. [2]

Lycopene is also considered a deterrent to prostate cancer. So enjoy your pizzas and Italian dishes guys. Just make sure you use organic tomato ketchup with whatever you put ketchup on. Hopefully on meats from humanely treated grass fed livestock and organic spuds.

Carrots contain lots of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. The World's Healthiest Foods site refers to an earlier 10 year Netherlands study on how diet influences cardiovascular disease (CVD). That study concluded that yellow and orange foods, especially carrots, protected against CVD. [3]

This time raw carrots are probably offer more bio-available carotene. Carrots are hardy, and can maintain their freshness longer than many vegetables. Sliced, diced, and used on salads is one way to enjoy them.

Then there is juicing. The Gerson therapy uses lots of fresh carrots mixed with other veggies and apples in their intense high juicing protocol. That fact alone should be enough to motivate juicing carrots with other veggies (http://www.naturalnews.com/034511_carrots_juicing_health_benefits.html).

Sweet potatoes are among the most ignored foods that are highly nutritious. Just like carrots, organic sweet potatoes are relatively inexpensive. But unlike carrots, raw consumption is not practical.

There is a confusion between what is a sweet potato and what is a yam. The only difference is the color of the vegetable's "meat." Yams are always vividly orange under their skin, while sweet potatoes can be white, off-white, yellow, and even purple.

The skin is not a vital source of nutrients with this highly beta-carotene endowed potato. It's a good idea to skin them then slice them up into medallions. Then either boil or steam them. There should be a fat involved with consuming sweet potatoes or yams to boost beta-carotene bio-availability. [4]

Try boiling yam medallions, then adding a generous amount of organic butter and mashing with a strong squeeze of lemon and a small dash of maple syrup. Extremely yummy and very nutritious!

Regardless of the Finnish study reported in this article, these nutritional tips shouldn't be considered gender based, except for the tomato lycopene prostate cancer protection notice inserted by this author. Women will benefit from these foods' nutrition for heart and cardiovascular health as well.

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.vitasearch.com

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycopene

[3] http://www.whfoods.com

[4] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64





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