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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Carotenoids to help boost immune system

The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. To keep our immune system healthy, we need immunity boosters. Immune system boosters are typically utilized in order to improve the strength of the defense mechanism of the body. Carotenoids (Beta carotene) is one of immunity boosters which increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals that accelerate aging.


Beta-carotene or carotenoids is perhaps best known for its role as a precursor for vitamin A, or as pro-vitamin A, meaning that the human body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A when needed. The human body is unable to synthesize carotenoids and they must therefore be taken up as a food constituent


What are carotenoids?                                                       
Carotenoids/Beta-carotene is a naturally occurring reddish-orange pigment, responsible for the yellow-orange colour of many fruits. It is one of literally hundreds of carotenoids found in nature, particularly in dark green, deep orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is one of the most extensively researched carotenoids and pro-vitamins, and it is highly regarded for its many health-promoting capabilities.

The most common carotenoids in diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are provitamin A carotenoids, meaning they can be converted by the body to retinol (vitamin A). Lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene have no vitamin A activity.

Beta-carotene rich food – Orange/ Yellow fruits and vegetables
Lycopene rich food – Red fruits & vegetables
Lutein rich food – Green Leafy Vegetable
Zeaxanthin rich food - Yellow/ Orange Colour Fruits and Vegetables
Carrot, pumpkin, water melon,tomato, spinach,Kale,Persimmon,and corn

Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system, which helps prevent or fight off infections by making white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A also may help lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) fight infections more effectively.
                                                                                    
Benefits of Carotenoids on our immune 
Main functions of Carotenoids
  • antioxidant 
  • immunity booster 
  • promotion of cell communication 
  • cancer prevention 
  • eyesight improvement 
  • protection of the skin against oxidative damage
Carotenoids can help boost the immune system by:
  1. Increasing lymphocytes to fight against infection
  2. Increasing T-cells to fight off cancer cells
  3. stimulates macrophages to kill cancer cells
  4. Protect cells against free radicals
Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant and may help prevent chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, age-related eye diseases, brain disorders and many more. beta-carotene is also known to protect skin exposed to sunlight as it absorbs hazardous ultraviolet radiation.


Useful links:

Vitamin A and Carotenoids

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