How much do you know about alpha-carotene?

It may not be as exotic as acai berry or as marketable as dark chocolate and red wine, but we have another entrant into the "superfood" sweepstakes: alpha-carotene. OK, so it's technically a chemical compound, but still ...

Take our quiz about this potent cousin of the better-known beta-carotene.

1. Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied medical data on 15,000 subjects from a nutrition survey and found that those with the highest levels of alpha-carotene in their blood were how much less likely to die from all causes over 14 years?

a) 13 percent
b) 22 percent
c) 39 percent

2. Alpha-carotene is part of the carotenoid compound family distinguished by the red, orange and yellow pigments in vegetables and fruit. What does the body do when it ingests alpha-carotene?

a) Converts it into vitamin B12
b) Converts it into vitamin A
c) Converts it to glucose in the bloodstream

NEXT PAGE: Why does alpha-carotene have nutritional bragging rights over beta-carotene?

3. Why does alpha-carotene have nutritional bragging rights over beta-carotene?

a) Alpha is more effective at inhibiting certain cancer cells
b) Alpha is found in tastier foods than beta
c) Alpha has a more pleasant taste than the bitter beta

4. True or false: An orange pigmentation on a fruit or vegetable means it likely contains more alpha- than beta-carotene.

NEXT PAGE: Which of the following does not have significant levels of alpha-carotene?

5. Which of the following does not have significant levels of alpha-carotene?

a) Cornmeal
b) Snap beans
c) Whole-wheat bread

NEXT PAGE: The answers!

ANSWERS: 1: a; 2: b; 3: a; 4: false; 5: c.

Sources: http://tuftshealthletter.com; http://lpi.oregonstate.edu

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