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Arts and Entertainment Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 7 years ago

Healthy Eats: Orange is the new color of healing

by: Mary McAndrews

Orange — it's not just for pumpkins anymore.

Sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and sweet orange peppers are all powerful beta-carotene vegetables. In fact, it's that healthy beta carotene that gives them their wonderful orange color. Yes, pumpkins, too.

Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant. These anti-oxidants help reduce free radicals — toxins such as dust, smoke, and carbon exhaust from automobiles and air pollution that can enter the body and create cellular damage. The moment you bite into that carrot, the healing powers are at work, neutralizing free radicals in the body. So, you see, carrots aren't just for good eye health like our parents told us; they're an orange super food.

Carrots aren't the only orange food with health benefits; sweet potatoes are enjoying a moment, too. You see them on restaurant menus replacing their old, starchy white cousins. Sweet potatoes provide great hydration for the skin, and they fill you up, reducing cortisol levels. Orange sweet potatoes raise our levels of vitamin A, B6, magnesium, iron and of course, beta carotene.

Studies at Harvard University showed a 32% reduction in the risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet.

The enzymes of a pumpkin can be used on the skin to help dissolve dead skin build up, allowing your natural oils to lubricate the skin. Squash is also a common ingredient used to pigment natural mineral makeup.

So this fall, embrace the orange — and all its added health benefits.

Mary McAndrews is the founder of Lasting Looks of Sarasota.

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