Colorful fruits and vegetables linked to lower breast cancer risk

Come to find out, pink isn’t the most important color when it comes to breast cancer. According to researchers in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, women loading up on carotenoids, the  micro-nutrients found in red, yellow and deeply colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes spinach and kale, showed lower rates of breast cancer than those who didn’t eat as many of them.

Alexandra Sifferlin at Healthland Time magazine explains that Dr. Heather Eliassen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, led an analysis of data collected in various studies about the carotenoids and their effect on blood and breast cancer rates. The studies included 3,000 participants and nearly 4,000 controls. Women with carotenoid levels in the the top 20 percent of measured ranges had a 15-20 percent reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those with carotenoid levels in the lowest category. “It looks like it is a linear relationship,” says Eliassen. ”The higher you go, the [lower] your risk is.”

Why carotenoids work against breast cancer isn’t clear. They may metabolize into retinol, which regulates cell growth. Or they may improve cell communication and enhance immune system function. Eliassen urged caution. Other research carotenoids, in the form of beta-carotene supplements, are linked to an increased risk for lung cancer. (Read more

The Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference will be held Jan. 7-8 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington. Deadline for preregistration is Dec. 19. The block of rooms for the conference will be held until Jan. 4. Program and registration information are available here or through John Strang at (859) 257-5685 or, or Tim Coolong at (859) 257-3374 or

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