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For many bodybuilders, you may have come across the topic of carotenoids and what benefits if any they contain for bodybuilders. Let us take a closer look. Bodybuilders
consume copious amounts of beef and other animal products in an effort to get bigger and stronger. Although the protein from animal sources is high quality, it is often
high in saturated fat and cholesterol. If you keep up with bodybuilding nutrition advice, you know that a diet high in saturated fat can contribute to high cholesterol
levels in people susceptible to cholesterol problems. One way to fight high cholesterol is to eat more vegetables. Due to their complex carbohydrate (low glycemic) and
fiber content, veggies help combat cholesterol. Scientists also speculate that other properties found in vegetables may help lower cholesterol. Carotenoids, which are
found in many veggies, are the phytonutrients that give them their rich colors. These nutrients offer health benefits that go beyond the complex carbs and fiber of
vegetables, making foods high in carotenoids a crucial element of a bodybuilding diet.
In a recent study, 23 healthy male subjects ate foods low in carotenoids for two weeks to establish a cholesterol baseline. Then they drank eight ounces of tomato juice daily for two weeks, eight ounces of carrot juice daily for two weeks, and consumed 10 grams CA ounce) of spinach powder, again, daily for two weeks. The subjects were not given whole vegetables, in order to avoid the potential cholesterol-lowering abilities of fiber, instead placing the focus on the effects of the carotenoids. The researchers checked the subjects antioxidant status and their levels of cholesterol oxidation. Lipoprotein carotenoid concentrations were enhanced by the carotenoid-containing veggies, but the tomato juice was the only one to have an effect on cholesterol oxidation. Based on this study, tomato juice is the winner when it comes to protecting the heart and blood vessels from the ravages of cholesterol.
In everyday practice, bodybuilders should consume whole vegetables for all their potential benefits, rather than just drink juice. If you prefer not to chomp on a lot of raw vegetables all day, consider mixing juice with whole veggies. Since science still doesn't know all the benefits of individual vegetables and their unique phytonutrient profiles, for now, your best bet is to mix and match.