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BETA-CAROTENE (Carotenoid)

Beta-carotene is the deep green, yellow, orange and red pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colours. The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek beta and Latin carota (carrot). Beta-carotene, also known as a pro-vitamin A, is an essential component as the human body converts it into vitamin A which is essential for the health of the eyes. It is also a powerful antioxidant that has been established in inhibiting the growth of many pre-cancerous tumours. It also helps to increase the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells and helper T-cells which helps strengthen the immune system.

A common carcinogen found in cigarettes called benzopyrene can cause vitamin A deficiency. Consuming foods rich in carotenoids helps the body to produce vitamin A. Supplements should be avoided though as they have been known to worsen lung disorders in smokers.

NOTE: Eat foods rich in the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene with fatty foods like avocado, nuts, oily fish, seeds and virgin cold-pressed coconut, olive, rapeseed, rice bran and other plant oils to enable absorption because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats.

Highest sources of beta-carotene in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Chilli pepper and paprika 26162 µg

  • Sun dried chilli peppers 14844 µg

  • Sweet potatoes 11509 µg

  • Kale 8823 µg

  • Carrots 8332 µg

  • Pumpkin 6940 µg

  • Romaine lettuce 5226 µg

  • Parsley 5054 µg

  • Marjoram 4806 µg

  • Sage 4806 µg

  • Butternut squash 4570 µg

  • Cress 4150 µg

  • Coriander 3930 µg

  • Basil 3142 µg

  • Broccoli 2720 µg

  • Chives 2612 µg

  • Watercress 1914 µg

  • Leeks 1000 µg

  • Passion fruit 743 µg

  • Courgettes 670 µg

  • Mango 640 µg

  • Asparagus 604 µg

NOTE: One µg is one microgram.


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