Peel some carrots and kumara then throw on a pot of green beans to keep diseases and ageing at bay!

Eating lots of orange and dark green veges such as carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans may be tied to less disease and longer life, suggests a new study.

This time it is not the beta-carotene in vegetables that has the spotlight, but rather its cousin: alpha-carotene. Both are members of the carotenoid antioxidant family. Scientists believe carotenoid antioxidants promote health by counteracting oxygen-related damage to DNA.

Consumption of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with lower risks of health problems such as cancer and heart disease, said Dr. Chaoyang Li of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, in e-mail to Reuters Health.

However, it is still not clear which elements contribute to the health effects or how they do so, he added, pointing to recent studies that have found no apparent benefit for beta-carotene supplements.

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