Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant belonging to the group of carotenoids that is found mainly in fruits and vegetables such as papaya, pumpkin and carrots.Beta carotene, like other carotenoids, is fat soluble and sensitive to light and heat . It is converted into vitamin A
Benefits and properties of Beta Carotene
Beta carotene is important for the performance of a wide range of body functions.
- First of all, it has antioxidant properties , and therefore goes against the action of free radicals;
- it is converted from the small intestine into retinol , which is fundamental for correct vision ; retinol is in turn converted into retinoic acid, which is important for cell growth. A deficiency of these substances causes dryness of the cornea and lack of bone growth;
- it seems to have an anti-tumor role , but also of protection from cardiovascular diseases, even if this function is still being tested;
- it is a precursor of vitamin A , and this is very important especially for vegetarians.
Beta carotene seems to have found other very positive effects for the body in these cases.
Beta carotene is very useful in women’s health , as it seems that it can reduce the risk of contracting breast cancer and ovarian cancer, as well as the risk of death in pregnancy. Its intake is therefore recommended for women who have breast cancer stories in the family.
- prevents sunburn of sensitive skin : in fact beta carotene allows to reduce the sensitivity of the skin with respect to the sun’s rays. It is therefore useful to avoid sunburn, especially if you have delicate skin.
- in smokers it prevents bronchitis ;
- appears to prevent breast cancer in women;
- may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women after menopause;
- prevents night blindness;
- improves physical performance for older people;
- prevents the risk of death associated with pregnancy.
USE IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY
It is used as a coloring with shades ranging from ‘ orange to GIALL or, depending on the solvent used. It is also used as a supplement in the pharmaceutical industry.
The beta-carotene , arrived in the intestine, is partially converted into vitamin A , a fundamental substance for the health of the skin and eyes and the rest is absorbed and stored as such in the adipose tissue and in the skin, giving a characteristic golden-orange color to the skin.
The only undesirable effect due to the intake of an excessive amount of beta-carotene may be the appearance of a yellowish coloration, especially of the palm of the hand and the sole of the foot ( carotenoderma ): it subsides and disappears by reducing or stopping the intake. Other side effects are extremely rare.