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 On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid