News / Health

Eating Colorful Produce May Help Prevent ALS

Eating brightly-colored fruit and vegetables, which are rich in anti-oxidants, may help prevent or slow the development of ALS, according to a new study.
Eating brightly-colored fruit and vegetables, which are rich in anti-oxidants, may help prevent or slow the development of ALS, according to a new study.
Jessica Berman
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS, is a rare but devastating neuromuscular condition with no known cure which is nearly always fatal.

However, a new study in the Annals of Neurology suggests preventing the paralyzing disease might be as simple as eating a diet of brightly-colored fruits and vegetables.  

ALS is believed to result, in part, from damage to motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. For reasons not fully understood, corrosive oxygen molecules, called free radicals, overwhelm the body's cell maintenance and repair systems, inflicting irreversible damage on the nerve cells, causing progressive, and eventually total, paralysis.
 
Eating brightly-colored fruit and vegetables, such as red peppers, carrots and kale, which are rich in anti-oxidants, may head off or slow the development of ALS, according to Alberto Ascherio, professor of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bright red, orange and green produce contains natural compounds known as carotinoids, in particular beta-carotene and lutein, which are known to counter the harmful effects of oxidative stress.

“So, if it is true that carotinoids could reduce the risk, there is the possibility that it could also slow the disease process in people who have the disease; we don’t know that yet," Ascherio says. "But we are trying to find clues about things that may help people with the disease.”

Ascherio and his colleagues analyzed data on one million people who took part in five large studies which tracked changes in their health as they aged. Information on the volunteers came from the National Institutes of Health’s Diet and Health study, the Cancer Prevention Study, the Multi-ethnic Cohort, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study.

About 1,000 of the participants eventually developed ALS.

“We found that the group of people with the highest level of carotenoid intake had about a 25 percent lower risk of developing and dying of ALS,” Ascherio says.

Researchers also found that study participants who consumed the most carotenoid-rich foods tended to exercise more and eat foods containing a lot of vitamins C and E. However, investigators found that those vitamins did not reduce the risk of ALS.

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, after the famed American baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid