4 Health Benefits of Incorporating Carotenoids Antioxidants Into Your Diet
A change in the weather demands a lifestyle change as well. With the weather getting warmer and brighter, the season is also rich in photoprotective diet with healing foods rich in carotenoids( mostly found in fruits and vegetables ).
Most of the foods that are available in the summer are rich in vitamins and bright in color making them even more luscious and tempting to eat. And a lot of summer dietary supplements containing carotenoids are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Ever wonder how fruits get their color?
Naturally occurring carotenoids contain hundreds of pigments of different colors, many of which are beneficial to your health.
Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables to get started on the path to better health and performance.
What Are Carotenoid Antioxidants?
Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments found mainly in red, orange, or yellow plants that act as a source of antioxidants and vitamin A. The pigments play an important role in plant health and are part of the phytonutrients (plant chemicals). They also have an important antioxidant function of deactivating free radicals — single oxygen atoms that can damage cells by reacting with another molecule.
There are 600 types of different carotenoids. Most of which can be turned into vitamin A when released into the body. The most common types of carotenoids are -
The xanthophyll carotenoids contain oxygen and more yellow pigments and help to protect from sunlight. They improve eye health and protect the eyes from blue light. Again, the carotenes do not contain oxygen and are made of orange pigments, which help to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
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Food Rich In Carotenoid Antioxidants
Foods rich in carotenoids are always red, yellow, or orange. The darker the color of the plant, the more carotenoids it contains. Carotenoids appear in many fruits and vegetables but are not limited to them; they are also found in egg yolks.
You can easily include the following foods in your diet plan that are rich in carotenoids and antioxidants:
Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which give them their natural orange color. Carrots are also a great source of beta carotene, and consuming cooked, fresh, canned carrots daily can be highly beneficial for your health as they are very high in vitamin A.
The word carotene comes from the Latin word for carrot.
Tomatoes are one of the best sources of carotenoid antioxidants, and their red pigment is mostly because of the higher concentration level of alpha-carotene. One cup of canned tomato juice can provide 22 percent of an adult's RDI of vitamin A.
There are very few foods that provide as many carotenoids as sweet potatoes. One medium-sized baked sweet potato -- with the skin -- offers more than 400 percent of the adult’s RDI of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also provide nutritious alternatives to high-fat, lower-nutrient foods.
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Dark leafy greens
The green color in some vegetables like kale, spinach, turnip, and mustard greens is because of carotenoid concentration. One cup of kale or spinach can provide 56 percent of an adult's RDI of vitamin A.
Egg yolks are rich in vitamin A. The Lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs help protect against eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Lutein from enriched eggs was better absorbed than lutein from spinach or supplements.
A glass of orange juice can help prevent arthritis.
Are Carotenoid Antioxidants Good For Health?
Dietary carotenoid antioxidants can provide a lot of human health benefits. These antioxidant properties are beneficial to protect you from diseases and enhance your immune system. The most helpful carotenoids are beta-carotene, lycopene, Lutein, and zeaxanthin due to their role as antioxidants and the ability to convert into vitamin A.
Also, when they act as provitamins, they are essential for maintaining a strong immune system, preventing heart disease, and maintaining eye health. They help reduce the effects of blue light on the eyes by absorbing the carotenoids.
Health Benefits Of Carotenoids Antioxidants
Carotenoids are beneficial antioxidants that protect your body from diseases and boost your immune system. You can gain the following benefits by eating a diet rich in carotenoids:
1. Improves Eye Health
Eating food rich in carotenoid elements like lutein and zeaxanthin can protect the healthy cells in the eyes and prevent cancerous eye cells. A leading cause of blindness is macular degeneration or degeneration of the retina's center. It can be caused by long-term exposure to blue light and negatively affect the delicate parts of the eye.
However, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin present in the retina work to absorb blue light. These in the human retina protect it from blue light, which can cause ionization and damage.
Again, including foods rich in Lutein like kale, spinach, turnip greens, summer squash, pumpkin, paprika, yellow-fleshed fruits, and avocado in your diet can help you decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration and even prevent cataracts.
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2. Reduces The Risk Of Getting Cancer
Carotenoid antioxidants have been shown to lower cancer risk, especially lung and skin cancer. Beta-carotene is typically found in yellow-colored foods like mangoes, papaya, yellow bell peppers, corns, egg yolks, and oranges. The antioxidants found in these foods are essential for protecting your body cells from free radicals and substances that can damage them.
Increasing the amount of antioxidants in your body, either through diet or by taking vitamin A can help you battle cancer and prevent cancer growth.
3. Better Cardiovascular Health
A diet rich in carotenoids can help to reduce inflammation in your body. By reducing inflammation, you can prevent heart disease and blockage of arterial walls. A lower risk of coronary heart disease is associated with a higher serum level of carotenoids.
A diet rich in carotenoid antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure, reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines and markers of inflammation, and improve insulin in the liver and fatty tissues.
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4. Builds A Strong Immune System And Increases Longevity
Carotenoids help to build a strong immune system and increase longevity. The alpha-carotene has potential longevity benefits, according to many researchers. In a recent study published in the Archives Of Internal Medicines, it was found that there is a correlation between alpha-carotene and longevity.
Alpha-carotene levels were inversely related to cancer death, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses. Several studies have shown a strong correlation between high levels of alpha-carotene and a lower risk of death from diabetes and respiratory diseases.
Alpha-carotene is not widely available in supplement form. However, you can get alpha-carotene from fruits and vegetables.
A Japanese study published in the Journal of Epidemiology found that people with the highest alpha-carotene levels were less likely to die of heart disease.
Summing It Up
Thus, eating more carotenoids and antioxidant-rich foods will boost your immune system and overall health. While vitamin A and beta carotene supplements are widely available, consuming them naturally is more beneficial because of their antioxidant nature.
I hope this article helped you better understand the benefits of carotenoid antioxidants. Moreover, you should always seek the help of a professional nutritionist before altering your diet.
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