Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, which is a red-orange plant pigment that has antioxidant and other health benefits. The beta-carotene in carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots is what gives them their orange colour. body. It is essential for healthy vision and to boost immunity and overall health.
Why is beta-carotene beneficial?
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Free radicals are molecules that cause ageing and tissue damage. Antioxidants inhibit the damage caused by free radicals and prevent serious health conditions.
Research has shown that consuming foods rich in antioxidants boosts the immune system, defends against free radicals and lowers the risk of health conditions like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Some studies have suggested that consuming four portions of fruits or vegetable rich in beta-carotene daily may lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
How much beta-carotene do you need?
Currently, there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for beta-carotene specifically. Research suggests that you should consume between 15 and 180 milligrams of beta-carotene per day.
What are the best food sources of beta-carotene?
Experts suggest that you should get beta-carotene from food rather than supplements. The best food sources of beta-carotene include:
• Sweet potatoes
• Spinach and kale
• Fruits like muskmelon and apricots
The highest beta-carotene levels are found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables generally have lower amounts of beta-carotene.
What are the other health benefits of beta-carotene?
A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that high beta-carotene levels help slow down the decline of lung power, since it inhibits the damage caused to the lungs by free radicals. Another study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School suggested that men who have been taking beta-carotene supplements for 15 years or more are at a significantly lower risk of experiencing cognitive decline than other males.
What are the health risks of taking beta-carotene?
• High levels of beta-carotene from food sources may turn the skin yellowish or orange. This effect is temporary and risk-free.
• Smokers and people who have been exposed to asbestos should not take beta-carotene supplements. It has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and even death. Excessive alcohol consumption combined with beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of liver disease and cancer.
• Beta-carotene supplements may react with cholesterol drugs and some other medication. If you’re taking regular medication, ask your doctor if beta-carotene is safe for you to take.