Antioxidants Help To Lower Risk Of Premature Births


Researchers have found that pregnant women who eat a wide variety of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables have lower risks of giving birth prematurely.

In a study of over 5,300 women who gave birth in Canadian hospitals, those with higher levels of certain carotenoids where less likely to give birth prematurely.

Carotenoids are pigments that give yellow, orange and red hues to a variety of fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, carrots, red peppers, watermelon, oranges and orange juice. They also act as antioxidants -- meaning they help protect body cells from damage that can lead to disease.
The protective nutrients included alpha- and beta-carotene, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-cryptoxanthin.

In contrast to the case with carotenoids, Kramer's team found that high blood levels of another antioxidant -- vitamin E -- were linked to an increased risk of preterm birth.

Similarly, women with the highest blood levels of certain dietary fats, including unsaturated fats, showed a somewhat higher risk of preterm birth. Omega-3 fats, found largely in fish, were unrelated to preterm delivery.

The reasons for those connections are also unclear, and the findings could have been due to chance, the researchers note. Kramer said the results are too preliminary to make any recommendations.



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