Carotenoids: Why You Need Them & Where to Find Them

These important nutrients have some very powerful benefits for your health. Here are just a few of the ways that carotenoids can improve your health, and how to include more of them in your diet…

If you’re anything like me, you may remember your mother telling you to eat your carrots when you were a kid, “because they give you bright eyes.” While this may have been nothing but a subtle form of bribery, your mom was right about one thing: carrots really are good for your health – including your eye health!  Carrots and other orange and red fruits and veggies, as well as most dark green leafy vegetables, get some of their vibrant colors from a group of fat-soluble nutrients called carotenoids. These amazing antioxidants help protect against oxidative stress, and also provide a number of other health benefits.

Since your body doesn’t produce carotenoids on its own, the only way you can get these important nutrients is through dietary sources. Fortunately, carotenoids are easy to find – in fact, they practically beg to be spotted! Look out for bright colors in the produce section, and you’re sure to find some carotenoid-heavy foods.

Here is a quick list of some of the most common carotenoid-rich foods that you can find in almost any grocery store:

  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squashes
  • Turnip Greens
  • Kale
  • Plums
  • Apricots
  • Mangoes
  • Cantaloupes
  • Apricots
  • Egg Yolks
  • Salmon

Adding foods containing plenty of carotenoids to your diet is one of the best ways to support overall health and wellness. Here are just a few of the health benefits attributed to this unique group of nutrients:

  • Antioxidant Support
    When you consume carrots or other carotenoid-rich foods, you are consuming antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress, which is believed to be a major contributor to aging and age-related health concerns.3 Also, antioxidants may be one of the best ways to support cardiovascular health.4
  • Vision Health
    Both lutein and zeaxanthin, two well-studied carotenoids, have been shown in multiple clinical studies to help promote vision health and protect your eyes from the harmful effects of blue light exposure.5,6 Age-related vision concerns are common in older Americans, so many doctors and nutritionists recommend eating plenty of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Skin Health
    While not strong enough on their own to protect you from the damaging effects of too much sun exposure, carotenoids may work to help your body protect itself from ultraviolet rays.5 Once converted from source carotenoids, active vitamin A may help reduce oxidative damage caused by the sun. Studies have shown that some carotenoids may also help protect skin tissue and cells from environmental toxins.7
  • Immune Health
    A higher intake of carotenoids is associated with a natural boost in immune health.8 Along with antioxidants, carotenoids are also known to contain acetylenics, a group of metabolites that have been studied for their potential role in promoting wellbeing and boosting immune function.7



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