Carotenoids – properties and sources in food


Carotenoids are a group of organic chemical compounds, unsaturated hydrocarbons and yellow, red, orange and pink plant dyes present in chloroplasts and chromatophores.

Carotenoids are red, orange and yellow dyes of vegetable or animal origin, and carotenoids are responsible for the color of carrots, pumpkins and tomatoes. Carotenoids should be especially appreciated by women because carotenoids rejuvenate, which is why they were used in cosmetics, but not only. what are the effects of carotenoids and where they occur.

Carotenoids are substances that give the color from yellow to red (and even violet) to both plants and animals, there are about 600 plant dyes, but only six of them have a significant impact on our body – alpha and beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin , lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin, carotenoids are absorbed by the intestines into the blood that transports them to various tissues in the body using lipoproteins.


Carotenoids – a way to a natural tan without sun and solarium

Part of the carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene, is stored in the skin, so you can enjoy the sun-blistered skin, but that’s not all, it neutralizes free radicals, causes discoloration of the skin and protects it from the harmful effects of sunrays. they determine the epithelial growth, counteract exfoliation of the epidermis, accelerate the healing of any skin lesions, prevent the development of neoplastic lesions and protect against the harmful effects of external conditions such as UV radiation. improving the skin tone or bronzing creams.


Carotenoids reduce the risk of cancer development

Carotenoids remove free radicals from the body, which are responsible, inter alia, for the development of cancer and thus the risk of cancer.” Carotenoids have been shown to lower the incidence of cancers such as cancer of the mouth, larynx, esophagus and bladder High intake of lycopene may reduce the risk of prostate cancer among others.Thanks to lycopene, the likelihood of developing cervical cancer is also reduced.


Carotenoids for healthy eyes

Carotenoids, especially beta-carotene and lutein, are essential for the proper work of sight. – Diet is very important, because vegetables and fruits are rich in various types of vitamins, including vitamin C, E and so important for the visual system vitamin A, which nourishes our retina, so that our photoreceptors, which are in the eye, work properly and we can enjoy good vision for a long time. A good ingredient that we should also take is lutein – says Newbeia Lifestyle news agency Magdalena Bińczak, optometrist New Eyes Ophthalmology Center Lutein and zeaxanthin bind free radicals (similar to other antioxidants, eg vitamin A, C, E), and also absorb electromagnetic radiation .They have the properties of filtering high-energy blue light, reducing its intensity by 40-90%, thanks to which they protect the retina photoreceptors and reduce the risk of degenerationyellow spot.



Worth knowing

Carotenoids – sources in food.Where do carotenoids occur?

beta-carotene – carrot, spinach, pumpkin,

lycopene – red fruits, eg in a watermelon, red grapefruit, also in tomatoes

lutein and zeaxanthin – they can be found in dark green vegetables and red peppers, as well as in maize, wild rose and sea buckthorn

cryptoxanthin – in the largest amounts it occurs in mango fruits, oranges and peaches

Small doses of carotenoids are found in the dairy, especially milk of cows fed fresh grass, and carotene is also found in egg yolk.Carotenoids do not lose their properties during cooking, on the contrary, raw tomatoes have much less of these substances than cooked.


Carotenoids can prevent heart disease

Carotenoids lower the level of bad cholesterol, thus preventing the deposition of cholesterol deposits in the walls of the arteries, and thus – prevents atherosclerosis, and further diseases of the heart, such as heart attack and stroke. This has been scientifically proven. According to Walter Willett – Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University – one carrot a day (which is a treasury of beta-carotene) reduces the level of bad cholesterol to the point that it reduces the risk of a heart attack by 30% and a stroke by 70%.


A diet rich in carotenoids reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures

A diet rich in carotenoids, from which vitamin A is formed in the body, reduces the risk of hip fractures in slim older men – according to research from Singapore. ² Over 17 years of observation in the study group more than 1.6 thousand. The low body mass index (lower than 20 kg / m2) was a stronger risk factor for hip fracture in older men than in women, and in men the risk of hip fracture decreased with increasing vegetable intake, and along with them, carotenoids, especially beta carotenoid, for example in carrots, the protective effect of these compounds was greater in the case of lean men than in men with a higher BMI, whereas in women the amount of vegetables and carotenoids consumed was not related to the risk of hip fracture, regardless of body weight.


Carotenoids support cognitive functions

Carotenoids help maintain cognitive functions in the elderly,” says researchers from the University of Georgia (USA) in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. “3 Scientists using brain magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measured the activity of neural networks in 43 people measuring 65-86 years of age while memorizing the list of words They also assessed the level of lutein and zeaxanthin in their organisms by measuring the concentration of yellow pigment in their organisms.It appeared that participants with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin had less stimulation of brain regions responsible for functions memory meant that they had to put less effort into the task.


Worth knowing

The egg supports the absorption of carotenoids

After adding a boiled egg to the pig-iron, our body is able to absorb more carotenoids contained in raw vegetables – claim the University of Purdue (USA). In addition, you will provide yourself a portion of lutein and zeaxanthin in the egg yolk.American scientists prepared a salad made up of tomatoes, carrots, young spinach, romaine lettuce and goji berries, and they offered it to 16 young, healthy men.They also added 1.5 or 3 pieces of crushed boiled eggs to some portions.It turned out that the subjects who ate the salad containing the most eggs several times (from 3 to 9 times) increased the ability to absorb carotenoids from food, including beta-carotenoid, alpha-carotenoid, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Posted on: November 13, 2018

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