Beta Carotene is a carotenoid compound responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their orange pigment. A powerful antioxidant, beta carotene has been found to help protect against cancer and aging. Beta-carotene is a fat soluble vitamin, so eating the following foods with a fat like olive oil or nuts can help absorption. Below is a list of high beta-carotene foods.

Beta carotene is an antioxidant, a substance that minimizes the damage to the body caused by free radicals. It is present in plants (giving them their pigment), and is converted by the body into vitamin A. In addition to its naturally occurring form, some manufacturers also make synthetic beta carotene, but this form should probably be avoided until research can prove its effectiveness.

Beta carotene exists in the yellow, green and red pigmenting agents found in many fruits and vegetables. It is a very potent antioxidant, and numerous research studies have found an association between greater intake of beta carotene-containing fruits and vegetables and a reduced risk of disease including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in older Americans) and even certain types of cancers.

Beta carotene is an extremely important player in promoting heart health and in managing heart risk factors . More than 200 studies have confirmed that any good cardiovascular nutrition plan should include foods rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, and other antioxidants.

Both beta carotene and vitamin E are antioxidants, micronutrients that may help protect the body’s cells from cancer-causing agents. In past studies, diets high in these nutrients appear to reduce the risk of cancer, especially lung cancer. Findings from a much-touted Chinese-American study conducted in China were released last fall and suggested that those taking beta carotene, vitamin E and selenium supplements had 13 percent lower risk of dying of cancer.

When thinking about beta carotene, most people instantly think of carrots. This root vegetable is indeed an excellent source of this nutrient, which gives carrots their nice orange color. They are also a good source of fiber, which makes them suitable for people who suffer from chronic constipation. Carrots make a perfect snack. They are sweet, crunchy, refreshing and they are best if consumed raw. They can be cut into sticks and served with a dip or they can be chopped into a salad. Carrots are also used to make cakes, and they make a very delicious and healthy juice.

Beta-carotene is not the only antioxidant that is found in carrots. Often overlooked, and also found in carrots, is alpha-carotene. According to a study in Japan, alpha-carotene is very protective against spontaneous liver cancer and two-stage lung cancer in mice and, more importantly, protective against the proliferation of human malignant tumor cells. Alpha-carotene is said to be about 10 times more protective against cancer than beta-carotene.

Beta-Carotene is one of 30-50 carotenoids found in plant foods that can be converted by the body into Vitamin A. Beta-Carotene is a fat-soluble compound that is absorbed intact in the presence of bile salts from the intestine. Beta-Carotene is made up of two Vitamin A molecules (attached together). Within intestinal cells they are split to yield retinol (preformed Vitamin A). Approximately one third of all the carotene in food can be converted into Vitamin A. For Beta-Carotene specifically, about one-sixth is available to become Vitamin A, if the body requires it.

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