A well-balanced diet provides certain essential compounds like carotenoids to your body. These compounds play a significant role when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. From your eyes to cardiovascular health, carotenoids protect each organ and fight health-damaging factors.

Some studies have shown the positive effects of carotenoids compounds on cancer. These compounds are potent enough to fight cancerous cells.

This article will discuss everything you should know about beneficial carotenoids.

What are Carotenoids?

Carotenoids are plant-pigments which you can distinguish by their yellow, orange, and red color. Many fruits, vegetable, bacteria, algae, and plants contain the pigment. Like antioxidants, carotenoids protect cellular damage in your body, which prevents the onset of premature aging along with chronic diseases. That is why nutritionists encourage people to incorporate natural sources of these compounds into their diet. It is worth noting that your body cannot synthesize these compounds; so, you need to increase the intake of foods that have carotenoids.

Types of Carotenoids

Carotenoids have more than 600 types. When you consume them via foods, some of them convert into Vitamin A. Following are the common types of carotenoids.

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Beta-cryptoxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin

Foods that are Rich in Carotenoids

You should add colorful foods to your diet which is one of the quickest and easiest ways to obtain carotenoids. Although your body does not produce these compounds, it needs carotenoids to combat the factors that lead to chronic diseases. You can find carotenoids in the following food sources.

  • Kale
  • Yams
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Orange
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Mango

Classification of Carotenoids

These are fat-soluble compounds that are absorbed with fats easily. You need to consume foods that are rich in carotenoids to strengthen other nutrients before they enter your bloodstream. Carotenoids are further classified into two groups i.e. carotenes and xanthophylls.

These kinds of carotenoids have antioxidant effect as well. Plus, some of these carotenoids such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin convert into vitamin A, which is essential for the health of children and adults alike. Moreover, carotenoids like lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin do not turn into vitamin A.

· Carotenes

This orange colored pigment does not contain oxygen. Carotenes help in the growth of plants as well. Also, lycopene and beta-carotene are part of carotenes group. You can find carotenes in sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, winter squash, carrots, pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya, and tangerines.

· Xanthophylls

This group contains oxygen and yellow pigment. Xanthophylls protect you from the damage caused by excess sunlight. These compounds function to improve eye health. Carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein are a part of the xanthophylls category.

You can obtain a considerable amount of the compound from spinach, egg yolks, kale, summer squash, corn, yellow-fleshed fruits, pumpkin, and avocado.

Health Benefits of Carotenoids

1. Skin Health

Many environmental factors damage skin cells and tissues which lead to premature aging. Studies have shown that carotenoids like astaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect your skin against these damaging factors and prevent the onset of several skin disorders.

You can maintain a healthy skin by adding foods rich in vitamin A carotenoids that are widely found in colorful and fresh fruits and vegetables.

2. Improves Eye Health

You need to maintain eye health as it deteriorates in a short time. There are common factors like staring at a screen or consuming imbalance diet that damage your eyes. So, you should incorporate carotenoids rich foods into your diet to prevent further damage to your eyes.

You can find a considerable amount of carotenoids in carrots that are delicious and excellent source to maintain eyesight and prevent eye diseases. This root vegetable also provides retinol and provitamin A to stop the occurrence of retina-related degenerative diseases, which are common in senior people.

3. Cancer Prevention

Carotenoids act as antioxidants that protect your body from the adverse effects of free radicals. This factor dismantles cell membranes. You should eat a diet rich in carotenoids to increase the ratio of antioxidants in your body and protect the cells from potential damage. Health experts have revealed that obtaining carotenoids regularly can prevent the growth of cancerous cells in patients as well.

The risk of lung cancer is common in smokers when their bodies inhale harmful bacteria and destroy healthy cells. Many studies have revealed that carotenoids ward off the symptoms associated with lung cancer. Moreover, carotenoids lower the risks of skin cancer as well. This is possible when carotenoids break down into vitamin A. This vitamin also protects against premature aging that occurs due to sun exposure.

4. Promotes Cardiovascular Health

You can maintain a healthy heart by adding carotenoids to your daily diet. Studies have shown that eating fresh kale, spinach, bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes are an effective way to maintain your cardiovascular health.

These vegetables are loaded with different types of carotenoids that impede the accumulation of fats in your arteries.  Consuming a diet rich in vegetables also controls cholesterol levels in your body.

5. Boosts Immune System

When your body gets enough antioxidants, it strengthens your immunity. Your immune system plays a significant role in protecting your overall health. For instance, a strong immunity destroys the microbes and bacteria that contribute to bacterial infections that often bring fever, flue, and diarrhea.

On the other hand, your immune system impedes the spread of cancerous cells in your body by destroying them with the help of antioxidants. Studies have proved that they are effective as antioxidants; so, obtain them on a daily basis to maintain a strong immune system.

Precautionary Tips

Obtaining essential nutrients and compounds such as carotenoids improves your health. However, you can find numerous supplements on the market that contain a high amount of vitamin A and different types of carotenoids. You should avoid supplements intake unless your doctor prescribes it.

Take note that health problems like weak eyesight are common and can improve to some extent by eating health-friendly foods like carrots. Despite that, you should consult with an eye specialist to get proper treatment as natural foods cannot become a substitute for medications, especially in severe cases. By visiting a doctor, you can also diagnose and treat an underlying health disorder.

Bottom Line

There is no question that a healthy and energetic body increases the quality of your life. Many environmental factors and an imbalanced diet lead to the onset of debilitating health complications. Therefore, you should make significant dietary changes to get health beneficial carotenoids from fruits and vegetables and to keep your health on track.

Article Source : Natural Food Series