If you find it difficult to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet each day, juicing can be a convenient way to increase your intake. One study found that supplementing with mixed fruit and vegetable juice over 14 weeks improved participants' nutrient levels of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and folate (8Trusted Source), as previously noted. Tim Newman, MedicalNewsToday.com, reflects on all you need to know about beta carotene:
“The name beta carotene comes from the Greek “beta” and Latin “carota” (carrot). It is the yellow/orange pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colors. H. Wachenroder crystallized beta carotene from carrot roots in 1831, and came up with the name “carotene”.
In this article, we explain all about beta carotene, what it does in the body, and what foods it is found in. We will also cover any associated risks.
What is beta carotene?
The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.
Beta carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is. Beta carotene's chemical formula – C40H56 – was discovered in 1907
Vitamin A can be sourced from the food we eat, through beta carotene, for example, or in supplement form. The advantage of dietary beta carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs.
Excess vitamin A is toxic. Toxic vitamin A levels can occur if you consume too many supplements.
Uses and benefits of beta carotene
There are a number of ways that beta carotene can benefit human health. Below, we give some examples:
Beta carotene is an antioxidant
Beta carotene, like all carotenoids, is an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules; it protects the body from free radicals.
Free radicals damage cells through oxidation. Eventually, the damage caused by free radicals can cause several chronic illnesses.
Some studies have suggested that those who consume at least four daily servings of beta carotene rich fruits and/or vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease.”
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