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This is the general name for several hundred plant pigments which are powerful antioxidants. Carotenoids absorb the dangerous sun rays that produce free radicals. Thus a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can help to provide a protection against arthritis, cancer and heart disease.

One, called 'lycopene' has been in much focus, as it may help lower the risk of prostate cancer - it's found mainly in tomatoes; while alpha carotene, found in carrots, may provide protection from other forms of cancer.

Carotenoids are also available in capsules as nutritional supplements.

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