Carotenoids, (pronounced ke-rot-en-oid), are a type of pigment, that is responsible for the bright orange, yellow, or red colors that are often found in plants, fruits and vegetables.
An example of some fruits and veggies that contain high amounts of carotenoids are:
These pigments play an important role in the health values of these plants, but what does a high amount of carotenoids mean for your health?
The Science Behind Carotenoids
Before understanding what carotenoids can do for you, we must first understand how carotenoids affect the plants that they inhabit.
Carotenoids, which are found in the cells of a plant, are nutrients that play a critical role in the plants ability to absorb sunlight through photosynthesis.
Additionally, they carry a special antioxidant that removes harmful oxygen atoms that can ultimately harm a plant if untouched.
Health Benefits Of Carotenoids
Carotenoids have a similar function in the human body.
Carotenoids have a myriad of health benefits, such as:
- Properties that can help you fight cancer
- Anti-inflammatory benefits
- Protecting skin tissue
- Speeding up regeneration of the skin cells
- A surplus of vitamins E and C, which promote cardiovascular health
- A surplus of vitamin A, which improves and sustains eyesight
In addition to helping sustain your eyesight, the large amount of vitamin A found in carotenoid-rich foods has proven to be a huge benefit in preventing degenerative diseases of the eye.
Types of Carotenoids
There are over 600 types of carotenoids.
Beta-carotene and alpha-carotenes are most popular in:
These nutrients have effects on the human body that help protection against cancer.
Lycopene, best found in tomatoes, reduces the risk for developing diseases like prostate cancer.
The nutrients that affect the eye the most are lutein and zeaxanthin.
These nutrients are the only two that can be found in the eye, and work together to protect your vision and maintain good eye health.