Carotenoids are fat-soluble nutrients that offer powerful antioxidant benefits. These phytonutrients have the ability to fight free radical damage, lower inflammation levels and fight disease. Common carotenoids include beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. Beta-carotene can be found in squash, spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots. It possesses anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits. Lutein and zeaxanthin are known for their ability to protect the eyes from damage. Foods that contain these carotenoids include dark leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables, like spinach, kale, turnip greens and Brussels sprouts. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Benefits of carotenoids include the ability to improve vision health, naturally boost the immune system, protect the skin from damage, promote healthy growth and development, and more.
Benefits of Carotenoids
1. Lowers Inflammation
Benefits of carotenoids include the ability to fight inflammation in the body. Carotenoids offer antioxidant properties that help block oxidative stress from forming. Lycopene is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory carotenoids. Benefits of carotenoids include the ability to lower the risk of heart disease, arteriosclerosis and other types of cardiovascular disease.
2. Promotes Healthy Growth and Development
Benefits of carotenoids include the ability to promote healthy growth and development in infants and toddlers. Carotenoids play a role in the synthesis of connexin proteins, allowing cells to effectively communicate with each other and promote healthy growth patterns.
3. Promotes Vision Health
Benefits of carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, include the ability to promote vision health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are needed to form the lens and retina of the eye. They help protect the eyes from age-related diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies have shown that consuming plenty of carotenoid-rich brightly-colored fruits and vegetables can help protect your eyes as you age.
4. Boosts Immunity
Benefits of carotenoids include the ability to naturally boost the immune system. Research has linked high carotenoid intake with strong immune function. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and chemoprotective properties, benefits of carotenoids also include the ability to fight off illness, infection and deadly diseases like cancer.
5. Protects the Skin from Damage
Benefits of carotenoids include the ability to help protect the skin from damage. Studies have shown that diets high in carotenoids can help prevent damage caused by UV light. UV damage can cause premature aging, wrinkles, dry skin and melanoma. Benefits of carotenoids and Vitamin A include the ability to prevent keratinization of the skin, which causes the cells to lose their moisture and dry out. Vitamin A can also help fight skin cancer by preventing oxidative damage.
Top Carotenoid Foods
- Winter squash or butternut squash
- Carrots and carrot juice
- Sweet potato
- Collard/turnip greens
- Citrus fruits
- Red peppers