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Higher blood levels of antioxidant compounds called carotenoids may lower a person’s risk of having high blood pressure, a 2022 study found. The greatest risk-lowering benefit was seen with the carotenoid compound beta-carotene, which cut the risk of having high blood pressure in half.

The study involved more than 11,000 adults enrolled in NHANES, an ongoing assessment of the health and nutritional status of people living in the United States. Researchers measured the levels of six carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, trans-lycopene, trans-beta-carotene, and cis-beta-carotene) in the participants' blood and took their blood pressures.

They found that having higher levels of all six of the carotenoids markedly reduced the risk of having high blood pressure. However, trans-beta carotene reduced the risk by 50 percent, and cis-beta-carotene reduced the risk by 53 percent.

Carotenoids are antioxidant compounds naturally present in many red, yellow, or orange fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. Epidemiological data suggest that consumption of carotenoid-rich foods reduces the risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, macular degeneration, and prostate cancer.

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