Women are at more risk for degenerative problems
Women tend to live longer than men but typically have higher rates of illness. Now, new research from University of Georgia, US suggests these higher rates of illness can be improved by a better diet, one that is high in pigmented carotenoids such as yams, kale, spinach, watermelon, bell peppers, tomatoes, oranges and carrots. These bright-colored fruits and vegetables are particularly important in preventing visual and cognitive loss.
“The idea is that men get a lot of the diseases that tend to kill you, but women get those diseases less often or later so they perseverate but with illnesses that are debilitating,” said Billy R. Hammond, a professor in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of psychology behavioral and brains sciences programme and co-author of the study. “For example, of all of the existing cases of macular degeneration and dementia in the world, two-thirds are women. These diseases that women suffer for years are the very ones most amenable to prevention through lifestyle.”
Dietary intake of pigmented carotenoids act as antioxidants for humans. Two specific carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are found in specific tissues of the eye and brain and have been shown to directly improve central nervous system degeneration.
“Men and women eat about the same amount of these carotenoids, but the requirements for women are much higher,” said Hammond.
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