What is beta-carotene?

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Beta-carotene is a natural chemical that belongs to the carotenoid family.  It is present in many plants and vegetables and provides the orange pigment or color to them.  Carrots and pumpkins for example derive their orange color from beta-carotene.  Aside from its pigment contribution to a variety of fruits and vegetables, beta-carotene also act as a supporting chemical in food production process in plants called photosynthesis.

Beta-carotene is not only essential to plants but also essential to human health.  When consumed through the intake of fruits and vegetables, beta-carotene will be transformed to Vitamin A which is a powerful anti-oxidant.  Being an anti-oxidant, good amounts of beta-carotene in the body can help flush out harmful free radicals and toxins which are the precursors to cancer cells.  Having enough beta-carotene and Vitamin A in the blood stream also promotes a healthy cardio-vascular system, good eyesight and overall eye health, and boost immunity from various illnesses.

With the healthy benefits associated with beta-carotene, health experts and medical professionals promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain this nutrient along with other essential minerals that the body needs.  Carrots, pumpkins, squash, and sweet potatoes are rich sources of beta-carotene.  Green leafy vegetables also contain good amounts of this nutrient along with green peppers and lettuce.  Most health experts suggest having a regular intake of beta-carotene in its natural form that is found in fruits and vegetables.  There may be cases though that warrant beta-carotene supplementation through tablets and juices for example but these need to be recommended by licensed dieticians or doctors.  People with Vitamin A deficiency for example may respond well to beta-carotene supplements along with the intake of various fruits and vegetables.  By literally stacking up on Vitamin A, some symptoms like dry eyes, skin rashes, or minor infections may get faster relief.

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