Carotenoids for Better Health

 

 

Carotenoids are a natural substance produced in many natural foods that are necessary for good health. People who don't eat daily servings of vegetables and fruits are likely to be unknowingly deficient in these wondrous food chemicals.

Studies show that in people who eat high amounts of food rich in carotenoids the blood samples reveal chemical markers that are linked to a lower risk of liver disease, arteriosclerosis, strokes, insulin resistance, and macular degeneration.

Carotenoids can help strengthen the immune system, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Carotenoids also provide strong anti-inflammatory benefits, and have the ability to ward off viruses and bacteria.

There are over 600 known carotenoids. Carotene and lycopene are the most widely recognized by the general population. These are the antioxidants found in orange and red fruits and vegetables such as carrots, and tomatoes. It is the carotenoid that gives the food the red, yellow or orange coloring. They provide the main source of Vitamin A for humans.

Dietary consumption of lycopene (mostly from tomato products) has been associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and is important for eye health.

Carotenoids are used as natural colorants for food and cosmetics in place of artificial colors and dyes.

A United States Department of Agriculture study found that by consuming carotenoids the health benefits obtained include an increased immune function by 37 percent in just 20 days. And the number of natural killer cells in the blood were increased by 20 percent in the same length of time.

Carotenoids are found in all leafy plant foods and in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The primary source of lycopene is from tomato and tomato products and watermelon. All yellow and orange vegetables such as apricots, yams, squash, pumpkin, carrots, etc. contain high amounts of carotene. Carotenoids from vegetable juices are second best to consumption of the fresh food.

Carotenoids are also found in some animal foods, such as salmon, egg yolks, milk, and poultry.

Supplements are another choice and from these studies some doctors recommend that most people supplement their diets with up to 15 mg per day of beta carotene and 6 mg of lutein and lycopene.

For more information on carotenoids visit:

http://www.apluswriting.net/health/carotenoids.htm

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Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
Website: http://www.apluswriting.net
Email: Current address on website
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