Beta carotene is a plant pigment that gives vivid colour to red, orange, and yellow vegetables. It gives carrots a bright orange colour, for example.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. By reducing oxidative stress in the body, antioxidants may lower the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
This nutrient is also converted into vitamin A (retinol) by the body. Vitamin A is required for the proper functioning of our lungs, skin and mucus membranes, immune system, and eye health and vision. Onions, carrots, peas, spinach, and squash are all high in vitamin A.
The foods highest in beta carotene include:
- dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
- sweet potatoes
- butternut squash
- red and yellow peppers
- romaine lettuce