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Beta-Carotene

 

Jump to:-    What is  Beta-Carotene?  | When was Beta-Carotene discovered | What does Beta-Carotene do?  | Good food sources of Beta-Carotene

 

 

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What is Beta-Carotene?

 

Beta-carotene is a molecule which is part of the carotenoid  family of chemicals found in many fruit and vegetables, as well as some animal products such as egg yolks.

 

 

When was Beta-Carotene discovered

 

Beta-carotene was discovered in 1831 by professor Heinrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Wackenroder who was the first person to isolate the natural orange-yellow pigment in carrots and who named the term 'carotene' however it wasn't until 1919 that Harry Steenbock (1886-1967) suggested that there could be a relationship between beta-carotene and vitamin A.
 


 

How the Body Uses Beta-Carotene

 

Beta-carotene is also known as provitamin A, because it is one of the most important precursors of vitamin A in the human diet, that is to say its molecules are converted into vitamin A by the body.

 

The breakdown of beta-carotene occurs in the walls of the small intestine. The resulting retinol is stored in the liver.  If you eat more beta-carotene than the body needs, less of it is converted, and the rest is stored, however too much beta-carotene can make you turn yellow.

 

Beta-Carotene also has antioxidant properties which may help in preventing cancer and other diseases.

 


Good Food Sources for Beta Carotene

 

Beta-carotene can be found in  a variety of foods including yellow fruit and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, squash, swede (rutabaga) and melons and in some green vegetables such as  kale, spinach and broccoli.

 

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