The Surprising Health Benefits Of Beta Carotene
Beta carotene is an amazing nutrient that protects your cells and lowers your risk for cancer. It’s part of a larger team of nutrients known as carotenoids, the yellow-orange pigments found in fruits and vegetables. Your body uses carotenoids to make the active form of vitamin A.
Amazing Vitamin A
Beta carotene is composed of two vitamin A molecules. Beta carotene is stored in your body, and when you need vitamin A, enzymes in your liver split apart the beta carotene, yielding those two vitamin A molecules. The great thing about this and the way it works is that you can consume lots of beta carotene without any sort of toxic effect. Your body will always make just the right amount of vitamin A at any given time.
But making vitamin A is not the whole story…
A Super-Powerful Antioxidant
Beta carotene serves as a powerful antioxidant and has the ability to prevent free radicals from forming and to neutralize existing free radicals. This makes beta carotene a critical anti-aging nutrient. Some antioxidants, like vitamin E, are used up quickly, but beta carotene stays in your system and continues performing its antioxidant magic over and over again.
Even better, research has shown that beta carotene can destroy carcinogens, the substances (chemicals or otherwise) that cause cancer.
Beta carotene helps to protect your skin from UV damage and inhibits the formation of tumors and cancerous cells. So, including vegetables and fruits in your diet is definitely important, because the carotenoids you get will help ward off cancer.
Your Eyes Have It …And Need It
Beta carotene is vitally important for your eyes because it helps protect them from damage that could lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.
What If You Don’t Get Enough Beta-Carotene?
It shows up in the same way as a vitamin A deficiency would. Symptoms may include poor night vision, dry skin, dry eyes, throat and chest infections, slow wound healing, and infertility. In children, it could show as delayed growth.
Lack of beta carotene can also result in the formation of precancerous cells, which are abnormal cells that may or may not turn into cancer. It’s like the middle ground where you have dysfunctional cell formation, but not a situation where devastating health effects are inevitable. But it’s a sign that something is not right and beta carotene deficiency can contribute to that.
How To Get More Beta Carotene Into You
It’s best to get beta carotene and lots of other carotenoids by eating plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits. Just consume the fruits in moderation since they contain fructose, and you should be limiting your sugar intake.
You can include eggs with your veggies, like on a salad, because eggs are a great source of two important carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin. Of course, be sure your eggs are organic and pasture-raised. You can read more about why that is so important here.
One of my favorite sources is a blue-green algae called spirulina, which is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I included it in the formulation of my protein shake called Plant Protein Complete. Spirulina not only provides lutein and zeaxanthin, it’s also a great source of protein.
So, start making yourself healthier and your life better today. Increase your beta carotene intake!
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