Beta-carotene is that red-orange looking pigment that gives carrots their color along with other fruits and vegetables with the same eye-catching hue. It’s a very powerful antioxidant which was originally discovered by a scientist called H. Wachenroeder in 1931.
Once it reaches your body, the beta-carotene turns into vitamin A, a fat-soluble nutrient. As a result, any excessive amount will not be flushed out through urine, but rather, it will be stored in the body. So keep in mind that too much vitamin A is toxic! If you ever heard of cases of people suddenly turning orange (without using cosmetics), then that was probably the case as well. In order to avoid any health problems, it would be a good idea to control the amount of beta-carotene that you ingest.
Correct Dosing is the Key
It’s easy to find beta-carotene supplements on the market, but you need to get some recommendations from your doctor so that you won’t end up overdosing. If you have a deficiency, your doctor will know exactly how much you’ll need to take so that your condition will improve. Symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency include premature skin aging, poor eyesight, and a weak immune system.
If you do not want to rely only on supplements, you can also opt for foods that contain high amounts of beta-carotene. Some excellent sources are the following:
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet red bell peppers
- Pistachio and walnuts
- Spices and herbs like oregano and paprika
- Dried apricots, peaches, and prunes
- Cantaloupe melons
- Pumpkins and squash
- Spinach and kale
Include these in your diet and make sure that you get your daily recommended dose of beta-carotene.
Health Benefits of Beta-Carotene
You know where to find beta-carotene. Now we need to answer your question of “Why do I need it?”
Well, here are some of the reasons:
- It grants supervision: A deficiency of beta-carotene can lead to blindness, because your cornea thickens, and thus, it results in vision loss. Get that sharp vision by consuming foods that are rich in beta-carotene.
- It makes your skin look healthier: Beta-carotene protects your skin against free radicals, due to its antioxidant properties. Plus, beta-carotene can also be a great ally against skin cancer.
- It controls inflammation: Inflammation is usually the culprit behind health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Regularly consuming beta-carotene reduces the risk of you developing such a condition.
- It keeps your immune system strong: Beta-carotene helps strengthen the immune system because it’s a powerful antioxidant. If you have a well-functioning immune system, you’re protected against allergies and infections, and you are also less likely to catch a cold or go down with the flu.
If you ingest the correct amount of beta-carotene (as your body asks for), you are going to convert it all into vitamin A which will keep you in good health.