Carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants. The most common carotenoids in North American diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
There are more than 600 different types of carotenoids, and many of them are important to human health. They include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. We can get proper amounts of carotenoid by including brightly colored fruits and vegetables in our daily diet. Interestingly, we have to include a little fat in a meal to help the body absorb these important nutrients.
Vegetables High in Carotenoids
Pumpkin – A top SuperFood, pumpkins are extremely high in fiber and low in calories, pack an abundance of disease-fighting nutrients, including potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. Even pumpkin seeds carry nutrition, like protein, potassium, magnesium and fiber. They also boost your mood. Read more about it in our pumpkin section.
Sweet Potatoes – One medium-sized baked sweet potato — with the skin — provides more than 400 percent of the adult RDI for vitamin A. Just don’t eat a plate full of sweet potato fries.
Carrots – You knew from their color they’d be on this list. A 1/2-cup serving of raw carrots provides 184 percent of the adult recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Eight ounces of canned carrot juice provide 451 percent. So say, “What’s up, Doc?” to carrots!
Spinach (and other dark, leafy greens) – Spinach lessens our risk of getting many of the most common diseases of the 21st Century, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Dig into our spinach section for more info.
Tomatoes – Another favorite SuperFood, tomatoes pack a nutritional wallop with high amounts of lycopene, and you can enjoy its benefits all year long. Because canned tomatoes are concentrated, they contain more lycopene than when eaten fresh. So whip up some fresh marinara and enjoy! Check out more in our tomato section.