The carotenes are a group of phytonutrients (non-essential, plant based nutrients that have a number of health benefits in humans). There are 3 main carotenes which are:
– Beta Carotene.
The carotenes are mainly found in orange and red fruits and vegetables. Carrots, grapefruits, oranges and tomatoes are some of the best sources. Although these plant based nutrients are not believed to be essential in humans, studies have shown that they have a number of promising health benefits. In this article I will be taking a deeper look at these and providing you with 16 of the potential carotenes health benefits:
1) FIGHTING CANCER:- Cancer is a horrible health disorder where the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells gets damaged. This then leads to your body’s cells growing in a rapid, out of control way and forming into a tumour (an abnormal mass of tissues). If this tumour becomes cancerous it can then spread to other parts of the body and damage the cells around it. The good news is that beta carotene and lycopene may be able to prevent cancer. However, further studies are needed before these cancer fighting properties can be confirmed.
2) FIGHTING FREE RADICALS:- Free radicals are nasty substances that are released into your body’s cells as a by-product of oxygen related reactions. Studies have shown that they can cause accelerated ageing, cancer and diabetes. Fortunately, the carotenes are all powerful antioxidants (substances that fight free radicals) and can keep you safe from their harmful effects.
3) FIGHTING FUNGAL INFECTIONS:- Fungal infections normally develop as a result of inhaling or touching fungal spores. Because of this most fungal infections normally develop in the lungs or on the skin. The good news is that early research suggests that lycopene may be able to protect against fungal infections by acting as an antifungal (a substance that treats fungal infections). However, more evidence is needed before this can be confirmed.
4) FIGHTING HARMFUL BACTERIA:- Bacteria are a type of single celled microorganism. Most of the time bacteria are harmless but some types can cause disease. Fortunately, lycopene may be able to protect your body from these disease causing bacteria by acting as an antibacterial (a substance that fights harmful bacteria). However, additional research is needed before these bacteria fighting properties can be confirmed.
5) FIGHTING HARMFUL TOXINS:- Toxins are natural poisons that get produced inside living organisms. The good news is that early studies indicate that lycopene may be able to keep you safe from their harmful effects by acting as an antitoxic (a substance that fights toxins within the body). However, additional studies are needed before these protective properties can be confirmed.
6) FIGHTING HEART DISEASE:- Heart disease is 1 of the major causes of premature deaths in the UK each year. Fortunately, provisional research suggests that beta carotene and lycopene may be able to keep you safe from this nasty disease. However, more evidence is needed before this can be confirmed.
7) FIGHTING UNNECESSARY INFLAMMATION:- Inflammation is your body’s natural way of dealing with infection, injury, irritation or stress. It leads to heat, pain, redness and swelling around the affected area. Most of the time inflammation is positive as it shows that your body is dealing with the threat and trying to repair any damage that was caused. However, sometimes inflammation is triggered unnecessarily and in these circumstances it is negative and can damage your body’s cells. The good news is that phytofluene may be able to help you avoid unnecessary inflammation by acting as an anti-inflammatory (a substance that minimises unnecessary inflammation). However, further studies are required before this can be confirmed.
8) KEEPING YOUR EYES, MUCUS LINING AND SKIN MOIST:- When you eat beta carotene it is converted into vitamin A inside your body which means by eating the carotenes you can indirectly enjoy the benefits of this vitamin. 1 of the useful vitamin A benefits is that they keep your eyes, mucus lining and skin moist. This stops them becoming irritated and allows them to operate properly.
9) PREVENTING ARTERIOSCLEROSIS:- Arteriosclerosis is a condition where your arteries become hard and lose elasticity. Fortunately, provisional research suggests that lycopene may be able to prevent arteriosclerosis. However, further studies are required before this can be confirmed.
10) PREVENTING GENETIC MUTATIONS:- Most genetic mutations are caused by mutagens (nasty substances that change the genetic material of an organism and make genetic mutations more likely). Some of the most common environmental mutagens include cigarette smoke and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The good news is that early studies suggest that lycopene may be able to protect you from these harmful effects by acting as an antimutagenic (a substance that inhibits the action of mutagens). However, additional evidence is needed before these protective properties can be confirmed.
11) PROTECTING YOUR SKIN CELLS FROM ULTRAVIOLET (UV) RAYS:- UV rays are invisible rays of energy that come from the sun and can damage your skin cells. In the worst cases they can cause skin cancer. Fortunately, provisional research indicates that phytofluene may be able to keep your skin cells safe from these harmful UV rays. However, further studies are needed before these skin shielding properties can be confirmed.
12) SUPPORTING HEALTHY GROWTH:- Another of the vitamin A benefits that can be indirectly enjoyed by eating beta carotene is healthy growth. Vitamin A supports healthy growth and in particular supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
13) SUPPORTING HEALTHY REPRODUCTION:- A further vitamin A benefit that can be unlocked by consuming beta carotene is healthy reproduction. This vitamin supports healthy fetal growth and healthy sperm production.
14) SUPPORTING HEALTHY VISION AND NIGHT VISION:- The main role of vitamin A is to maintain your vision and night vision. By eating beta carotene you can enjoy this health benefit and ensure that 1 of your main senses operates at 100%.
15) STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM:- Your immune system is a set of important biological structures and processes that your body uses to fight disease, infection and viruses. Vitamin A helps keep your immune system strong and by eating beta carotene you can indirectly enjoy this benefit.
16) TREATING DIABETES:- Diabetes is a nasty health disorder where your pancreas stops producing enough insulin (a hormone that allows your body’s cells to take glucose from the blood) or your body’s cells become unresponsive to insulin. It results in your blood glucose levels becoming extremely high and in the long term this can cause serious damage. The good news is that early studies indicate lycopene may be able to treat diabetes but further studies are needed before this can be confirmed.
CAROTENES HEALTH BENEFITS SUMMARY
The research on the carotenes is still in the very early stages. However, there are still many reasons to include foods that are high in carotenes in your diet. Fruits and vegetables containing these natural nutrients are rich in many health boosting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. The carotenes also offer significant antioxidant protection to your entire body. Plus, they have the potential to do a whole lot more. So make sure you are filling up on plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables and supplying your body with the nutrients they provide.