Beta-carotene isn't just good for your eyes. The antioxidant long linked to healthy vision, is now believed to benefit heart health, boost immunity and lower risk of diabetes. The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek word beta and Latin word carota (carrot). It is a pigment found in red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.
Beta-carotene is a pro-vitamin which can be converted to active Vitamin A. The human body is capable of converting beta-carotene obtained from plant sources to active vitamin A which is required for a good vision, strong immunity, and healthy skin and for several other body functions.
Beta-carotene can be obtained naturally from the diet and also through supplements. The advantage of dietary beta-carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs. Excess Vitamin A can be toxic and harmful. Toxic levels can occur if you consume high doses of supplements without doctor’s consent.
Benefits of Beta-carotene
Anti-oxidant Rich: Beta-carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant and prevents the body cells from oxidative damage by free radicals. Several studies have shown that anti-oxidants obtained through diet protect against harmful compounds such as free radicals and help build a strong immune system.
Heart Health: It has been found that those who consume at least 4 daily servings of beta-carotene rich fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing heart related disorders. Beta-carotene along with vitamin E helps in reducing bad cholesterol levels.
Immunity Booster: Beta-carotene enhances the response of immunity response cells and also helps stimulate your immune system to fight off infections and viruses, and destroy cancerous cells before they can spread.
Skin Saver: Beta-carotene along with Vitamin C and E is found to protect skin from harmful radiations of sun preventing from sunburn.
Respiratory Health: High intakes of beta-carotene and vitamin C have been found to increase the lung capacity, relieve respiratory problems, and protect you from breathing disorders such as asthma and bronchitis.
Diabetes: Studies have shown that people with low levels of beta-carotene in their bodies are much more likely to suffer from impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes.
Foods Rich in Beta-Carotene
Carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato, peppers, spinach, mustard greens, papaya, orange, cantaloupe, mango, apricots are rich sources of beta-carotene.
Including these foods in your daily diet can help you get the required amount of beta carotene for proper body functioning.