Cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and pumpkin are good sources of beta-carotene, said Premkumar. Beta-carotene gives orange foods their color; in fact, the word carotene comes from the Latin word for carrot.
Two studies of showed that smokers and former asbestos workers who took beta- carotene supplements increased their risk of lung cancer, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Doctors currently advise smokers not to take beta-carotene supplements. Large amounts of beta-carotene from food, however, do not seem to carry this risk; the worst they can do is temporarily turn your skin orange, according to the .
Beta-cryptoxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid that is also provitamin A. It can be a source of vitamin A, but it produces half as much as beta-carotene. Premkumar listed papaya, mango and oranges as good sources of it. Beta-cryptoxanthin is typically found in yellow foods, such as corn and bell peppers, and is present in yellow-colored dairy products, such as egg yolks and butter.
Vitamin A as an antioxidant helps convert beta-carotene efficiently, which reduces the risk of blindness in diabetics. Vitamin B 12 is effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. High dose supplements of vitamin C have been shown to prevent sorbitol accumulation and glycosylation of proteins, both of which are important factors in the development of diabetic complications such as cataracts. Studies have shown that a low vitamin-E concentration was associated with a 3.9 times greater risk of developing diabetes. Vitamin E reduces oxidative stress, thus improving membrane physical characteristics and related activities in glucose transport. This antioxidant promotes healing of diabetes-related lesions. Magnesium helps in the metabolism of glycogen, Mg works closely with vitamin B 6 to help the metabolic process with in the cell. Moringa all these nutrient and helps the diabetic patient to control their blood glucose level.
Some studies have shown that beta-cryptoxanthin may be effective in preventing lung cancer. In an analysis of several studies from North America and Europe, published in , researchers found that participants who consumed the most beta-cryptoxanthin had a 24 percent lower chance of developing lung cancer than those with the lowest consumption. In a large-scale study conducted in the Netherlands and also published in , researchers found that though all carotenoids were measured for their relationship to lung cancer risk, only beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with reduced cancer risk.
Carotenoids are important factors in human health and essentialfor vision. The role of beta-carotene and other carotenoids as themain dietary source of vitamin A has been known for the better partof this centuary. More recently, protective effects of carotenoidsagainst serious disorders such as cancer, heart disease anddegenerative eye disease have been recognized, and have stimulatedintensive resarch into the role of carotenoids as antioxidants and asregulators of the immune response system.
Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomato products, preventsoxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and reducesthe risk of developing atherosclerosis and coronary heart diseaseaccording to a recent study published in the October 1998 issue ofLipids (Agarwal, S., and Rao A.V.; Tomato lycopene and low-densitylipoprotein oxidation: a human dietary intervention study. Lipids,33, 981-984 (1998). This study showed that daily consumptionof tomato products providing at least 40 mg of lycopene was enough tosubstantially reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation. HighLDL oxidation is associated with increased risk of atherosclerosisand coronary heart disease. This lycopene level can be achieved bydrinking just two glasses of tomato juice a day. Research shows thatlycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body ifprocessed into tomato juice, sauce, paste and ketchup. The boundchemical form of lycopene found in tomatoes is converted by thetemperature changes involved in processing to make it more easilyabsorbed by the body. Ongoing research suggests that lycopene canreduce the risk of prostate cancer and cancers of the lung, bladder,cervix and skin.
Carotenoids are the pigments responsible for the colors of manyplants, fruits and flowers. They serve as Light Harvesting Complexes(with proteins) in photosynthesis. Carotenoids are important in humannutrition as a source of Vitamin A (e.g., from beta-carotene) and asa prevention agent for cancer and heart disease (e.g. lycopene). Inaddition, carotenoids add color to foods and beverages (e.g. orangejuice). And in addition, carotenoids are the precursors of manyimportant chemicals responsible for the flavor of foods and thefragrance of flowers.
Measurement of the of these pigments as a function of photosynthetic output makes it clear that the are the most important, but that beta carotene contributes.
The primary odor constituents derived from carotenoids areC13 - C11 - C10 - and C9derivatives formed via enzymatic oxidation and photo-oxidation of thevarious carotenoids found in plants, flowers and fruits. While otheraroma constituents such as esters, terpenes, pyrazines, etc. areusually also present, these C9 to C13 compoundsoften are essential to the odor profile. Above you will see a commonoxidative fragmentation pattern (shown for beta-Carotene).
Carotenoids are a class of phytonutrients ("plant chemicals") and are found in the cells of a wide variety of plants, algae and bacteria. They help plants absorb light energy for use in photosynthesis. They also have an important antioxidant function of deactivating free radicals — single oxygen atoms that can damage cells by reacting with other molecules, according to the .
There are more than 600 types of carotenoids. The most common ones in the Western diet, and the most studied, are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.