Carotenoids sources, health benefits and uses

Thursday, October 12, 2017 by

There are nearly 600 varieties of carotenoids found in nature. These phytochemicals are the fat-soluble molecules that give many fruits and vegetables their brilliant coloring. Perhaps you are more familiar with the alpha- and beta- types of the compound — the very same siblings that provide the yellow, orange, and red pigments found in such foods as carrots, pumpkins, and squash. Nonetheless, other types of carotenoids are present in large quantities in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.

Medical science has observed time and again that carotenoids are extremely powerful antioxidants. Either working singularly or through synergistic action with other healthful compounds, carotenoids reduce the damage caused by free radicals. This consequently leads to a decreased likelihood of inflammation, and an improved immune system.

Numerous supplements have isolated carotenoids in their purest forms. These are prescribed to alleviate certain medical conditions or prevent specific illnesses. Even so, it is best to speak with your doctor before using any alternative supplement to treat a medical condition. At best, carotenoids should only augment an already healthy lifestyle and should not be considered to cure an acute illness.

Medicinal benefits for carotenoids

Each variety of carotenoids has their own specific therapeutic benefit (or benefits, as it were). To gain a full insight into specific carotenoids, please refer to their own entry in this website.

In general, however, carotenoids are used as antioxidants. They are used to prevent certain diseases associated with inflammation. One of the better known indications for carotenoids is macular degeneration. This is considered to be an incurable eye disease that can lead to vision loss. The condition occurs when the macula (a part of the retina) is damaged. While there are many causes for the condition, scientists have noted that oxidation caused by free radicals can be a strong factor. Supposedly, an ample intake of carotenoids can prevent this.

Health experts are still analyzing the specific mechanics in carotenoid supplementation. They suggest that it would be better for people to get their required amount of carotenoids through eating colorful food. While the recommended dosages vary, most wellness professionals suggest taking around five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Body systems supported by carotenoids

Most research regarding carotenoid-use focuses on eye health. Doctors and scientists alike have seen a statistical improvement in macular health among people who follow a diet that contains carotenoid-rich foods. Nevertheless, the phytochemical can be used to improve overall health. It can be presumed that their antioxidant effects can support all body systems, despite a lack of evidence to validate this.

Where to learn more

Summary

Carotenoids are phytochemicals that are well-known antioxidants. They are the coloring pigments found in many fruits and vegetables.

Sources include:

WiseGeek.com

RaySahelian.com

LiveStrong.com



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