What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are yellow-, orange-, or red-colored pigments that naturally occur in plants and other organisms of the wild, though not in mammals. Prominent examples of carotenoids include beta-carotene and lycopene. As a nutrient, carotenoids serve two primary functions: they are a significant source of vitamin A through substances like beta-carotene, and they also acts as antioxidants.

What are the health benefits of Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are responsible for giving carrots, yams, apricots, and other foods their orangey color, and it has been reported that people who eat these kinds of foods have a lower mortality from certain chronic illnesses such as lung cancer. As an antioxidant, carotenoids are reported to serve the body by protecting it from free radicals that can damage the cells through oxidative stress. This protection can enhances the immune system and is beneficial for treating other conditions indicative of damaged cells.

The antioxidant effects of carotenoids have been used to boost immune function, treat irritable bowel syndrome, reverse memory loss, prevent sunburn, and reduce the risk of hearing loss. Research has indicated that carotenoids can help prevent heart disease, reduce bad cholesterol, and protect against cancer.

What foods are good sources of Carotenoids?
Along with carrots, yams, and apricots, carotenoids can be found in pineapples, peaches, pumpkin, summer squash, oranges, tangerines, nectarines, papayas, yellow and red peppers, corn, tomatoes, spinach, and kale. Goji berries are known to have the highest concentration of carotenoids of any plant in the world.

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This entry was posted in Natural Health Dictionary, Supplements, Vitamins and Nutrients.