If you have ever wondered where certain fruits and vegetables get their colors from, then you should learn about beta carotene. This is an antioxidant which gives the red and orange colour found in carrots and other vegetables of this kind. This is an important element that the body needs as it can be converted to important minerals which aid in many body areas. Often associated with Alpha Carotene, these 2 agents work hand-in-hand in producing vitamin A which is very crucial for the eyes.
As Beta Carotene is named after the carrot, the main and most prominent source of this antioxidant is from carrots. Besides that, the sweet potato (which is orangey and red in colour) is another rich source of beta carotene. Other known natural foods include dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, cantaloupe melon, dried apricots and broccoli. Apart from natural foods, beta carotene can be obtained from dietary supplements as well.
What does it do?
Beta Carotene works with other agents to produce Vitamin A or retinol which helps to enhance vision health. This vitamin is very crucial because it helps to maintain healthy skin as well as strengthening of your immune system.
Deficiency and Symptoms
The most significant symptom you will experience if you lack beta carotene is problems with your vision. For those in the 40s or 50s, you will be at high risk of cataracts and glaucoma which could be more serious than perceived. In some cases, your body could have a weakened immune system while being open to attacks by free radicals.
Beta carotene deficiency is not very common but it is often unreported as an individual would not be fully aware of this deficiency until it is too late. As such, it is advised and encouraged to take a lot of vegetables and fruits that are rich with alpha and beta carotene in a balanced and healthy diet all the time.
It is recommended that a normal adult should receive an average of 12,500 IU of beta carotene daily. While this is usually adequate through a balanced diet, it can be sourced from most multivitamin products old by dietary supplement companies.