What Is Beta-Carotene?

Beta-carotene is the carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetable their orange and yellow pigment. It is a powerful antioxidant and has been found to help protect against cancer and aging. Beta-carotene may also slow down cognitive decline.

Beta-carotene is also known as “provitamin A” because the body converts it into vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for good vision and eye health, as it works to protect the surface of the eye, the cornea. It also contributes to a strong immune system and healthy skin and mucus membranes.

Eye Health Benefits of Beta-Carotene

Eye benefits of beta-carotene: when taken in combination with zinc and vitamins C and E, beta-carotene may reduce the progression of macular degeneration. Beta-carotene is a strong antioxidant, which protects the body from free radicals, which damage the body through oxidation.

Beta-carotene reduces oxidative stress placed on our eyes from blue light emitted from the sun and electronic devices.  As beta-carotine converts into vitamin A, it helps to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and vision loss.

Excess vitamin A from animal sources is toxic, however, beta-carotene and provitamin A carotenoids from fruits and vegetables do not pose the same risk of toxicity, since these compounds are water-soluble and easily eliminated from the body.

Foods Rich in Beta-Carotene

Food sources high in beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.  One of the richest sources of beta-carotene is spirulina, a cyanobacteria and blue-green algae.

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Butternut squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Dried apricots
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Corn

Beta-carotene helps to promote excellent eye health.  Be sure to consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods to keep your eyes and vision healthy.

To learn more about how to take proper care of your eyes, consult one of our doctors at Primary Eyecare.

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