What is beta-carotene? What are the benefits of beta-carotene?
Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables.
The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek beta and Latin carota (carrot). It is the yellow/orange pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colors. H. Wachenroder crystallized beta-carotene from carrot roots in 1831, and came up with the name “carotene”.
Beta-carotene’s chemical formula – C40H56 – was discovered in 1907.
The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.
Beta-carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is. Beta-carotene from food is a safe source of vitamin A Vitamin A can be sourced from the food we eat, through beta-carotene, for example, or in supplement form. The advantage of dietary beta-carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs.
Excess vitamin A is toxic. Toxic vitamin A levels can occur if you consume too many supplements.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant
Beta-carotene, like all carotenoids, is an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules; it protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through oxidation. Eventually, the damage caused by free radicals can cause several chronic illnesses.
Several studies have shown that antioxidants through diet help people’s immune systems, protect against free radicals, and lower the risk of developing cancer and heart disease. Some studies have suggested that those who consume at least four daily servings of beta-carotene rich fruits and/or vegetables have a lower risk of developing cancer or heart disease.
Disease Risk Reduction
Studies indicate that increased intake of vegetables and fruits rich in beta-carotene may decrease the risk of lung cancer. It is not clear if these effects can be attributed to beta-carotene alone as the role of other carotenoids or vitamins from vegetables and fruits and associated dietary or life style patterns have not been adequately explored in the studies.
A number of studies have associated high blood levels of dietary beta-carotene and other carotenoids with a lower risk of developing diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (e.g., heart attack and atherosclerosis).
There is evidence that beta-carotene, alone and in combination with other carotenoids or antioxidant vitamins can protect the skin from sun damage. Oral supplementation of beta-carotene has been used successfully as sun protection in combination with sunscreens in the prevention of sunburn.
Age-related eye disorders
The results of population studies suggest that diets rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids may help to slow the development of age-related macular degeneration (deterioration of the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision) and cataracts (clouding in the lens of the eye) causing vision loss if left untreated.
In a number of studies, supplementation with beta-carotene and other carotenoids was found to enhance certain immune responses potentially preventing infections.
Nutritional Content of Buah Merah
Functioning as an anti aging agent, secondary antioxidant, increasing body immune system, preventing free radical damage, high content of vitamin E. Toco Pherol is good to attack cancer, hypertension and diabetes mellitus, degrading cholesterol of virulent LDL and improve HDL.
Beta Carotene and Toco Pherol are the main compound to overcome anti stroke and coronary heart attack. Beta Carotene moves the fleck accumulation of artery. It can protect the blood circulation to the heart and brain. Toco Pherol could decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase HDL. Carotenoids such as α-Carotene, β-Carotene and β-Cryptoxanthin have the added advantage of being able to convert to Vitamin A and its related role in disease prevention.
- Oleate acid, group of Omega 9 which can protect the body by controlling LDL and HDL.
- Linoleic acid, group of Omega 6 can prevent tumor growth.
- Linoleate acid, group of Omega 3 which can prevent blood coagulation and high blood pressure.
The fruit which contains of high dozes of Omega 3 and Omega 9 is not saturated fatty acids, can be digested easily and absorbed, also aids in the metabolism. In hepatitis cases, liver could regenerate the broken liver cells faster.