More than half of adult Americans take dietary supplement(s). Regan L. Bailey, from the National Cancer Institute (Maryland, USA), and colleagues analyzed the motivations of US adults for their use of dietary supplements. The team examined data collected from 11,956 men and women, ages 20 years and older, enrolled in the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The most commonly reported reasons for using supplements were to “improve” (45%) or “maintain” (33%) overall health. Women used calcium products for “bone health” (36%), whereas men were more likely to report supplement use for “heart health or to lower cholesterol” (18%). Older adults (≥60 years) were more likely than younger individuals to report motivations related to site-specific reasons like heart, bone and joint, and eye health. Writing that: “Supplement users reported motivations related to overall health more commonly than for supplementing nutrients from food intakes,” the study authors conclude that: “ Use of supplements was related to more favorable health and lifestyle choices.”
Regan L. Bailey; Jaime J. Gahche; Paige E. Miller; Paul R. Thomas; Johanna T. Dwyer. “Why US Adults Use Dietary Supplements.” JAMA Intern Med., February 4, 2013.
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Tip #129 - Carrots Count
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, a free-radical fighting compound shown to protect against ultraviolet damage and help to enhance the immune system.
Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA) researchers reported long-term benefits relating to general cognition and verbal memory, among men taking beta carotene supplements (50 mg every other day) for fifteen or more years. Because beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, the team suggests that beta carotenes exert their protective benefits on cognition by preventing the build-up of plaques associated with beta-amyloid deposits, which are associated with loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
As well, carrots may help promote cardiovascular health. In a study involving 559 men followed for fifteen years, a team from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) found that an increased consumption of alpha- and beta-carotene in the diet significantly reduced the risks of heart disease deaths. Specifically, the team found that the increased intake of carrots, rich in alpha- and beta-carotene, corresponded to a 17% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular-related death.
Crunchy and colorful, carrots are a smart choice for a mid-day snack or featured in a salad or side dish for dinner.