Women tend to outlive men but that longevity can come with a price: More illnesses than their male counterparts.
Now, researchers believe they have a solution that could bring a longer and healthier life for women. It’s all about a diet that is rich in bright-colored fruits and vegetables.
To reach that conclusion, University of Georgia researchers first considered the physiological differences between the genders. Women typically have more body fat then men. That makes women better suited for storing minerals and vitamins that are useful during pregnancy.
But that also leaves fewer nutrients available to other parts of the body, especially the brain and retinas. As a result, women are at higher risk of vision and neurodegenerative disorders as they age.
That’s where certain bright-colored fruits and vegetables come in. Think of yams, watermelon, bell peppers, carrots and oranges. They contain significant amounts of pigmented carotenoids [/kəˈrät(ə)n oids], which are natural, health-boosting antioxidants. Two of those carotenoids, found in the eyes and brain, are key to maintaining proper vision and nervous system function.
That’s especially crucial for women, who account for two-thirds of all dementia and vision degeneration cases worldwide. Women also account for 80% of all autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the body.
The researchers noted that men and women tend to eat about the same amounts of carotenoids but women’s needs for those nutrients are much higher. The good news is that addressing disease vulnerability is as easy as changing up your diet.
For women, better health may be as close as the colors that pop in the produce aisle.