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is Beta-Carotene? |
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What does Beta-Carotene do? | Good food
sources of Beta-Carotene
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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.
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.
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.
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
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