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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid