Importance of Carotenoids for Human Health

Most of us are aware of basic nutrients that a human need to survive such as protein, vitamin, minerals, fat and sugar. But most of us don't know about carotenoids, and why do we need them in our diet. will tell you here about these carotenoids and why they are very necessary for living a healthy life.

What are Carotenoids ?
Carotenoids are organic compounds mainly found in plants and algae. They are responsible for red, yellow and orange color in various fruits and vegetables. They absorb sunlight for photosynthesis and protect chlorophyll from damage by sun rays. There are 600 different varieties of Carotenoids but they can be split in two different classes. One is Xanthophylls (which contain oxygen) and second is Carotenes (these are pure hydrocarbons, and contain no oxygen). Aphids and Spider Mites are only animals with ability to produce Carotenoids due to genes acquired from fungi.

Importance of Carotenoids for Human Health

Carotenoids are very important part of a balanced diet. Their presence in our food save us from various disease of eye and certain types of cancer.

  • Role as Antioxidant: Carotenoids in our diet act as antioxidants, which as well known for their anti-cancer properties.
  • Can be converted to Vitamin A: Beta-carotene, a type of catenoid can be easily converted to Vitamin A by our body. Vitamin A is good for our eyesight and normal growth. But excess amount of Vitamin A is also harmful for our body, so a balanced amount of beta carotene should be consumed.
  • Saves us from Cancer: Some studies have suggested that carotenoids may help in prevention aganst skin, breast, and prostate cancer. A review done in 2015 found that carotenoids may protect us from head and neck cancer as well. But some recent studies have shown negative effect of beta-carotene in connection to lung cancer. More researches are still being done.
  • Improves our Vision: Some carotenoids such as lutein, astaxanthin, and zeaxanthin protect macula of retina from blue and near-ultraviolet light by absorbing it. Thus it saves that part of our eye which is responsible for sharpest vision.
  • Saves skin from tanning: Carotenoids not just save our eyes from sunlight but our skin as well. Carotenoids from save our skin from tanning and keeps it more healthy and glowing.

Sources of Carotenoids

carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, kale, tomatoes, bell peppers and oranges are some of the best sources of carotenoids. Carrots are considered best among them. So make them a part of your balanced diet and live a disease-free life.

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