as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes,
sweet red peppers, and peas.

What are Carotenoids?
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.  Dark green leafy vegetables
also contain carotenes, but due to their green chlorophyll content the carotene
pigments are hidden.    

Function of Carotenoids:
Carotenoids are free-radical scavengers that naturally occur in plants and some other
photosynthetic organisms like algae, some types of fungus, and some bacteria. They
are the sources of the yellow, orange, and red colors of many plants.  Free radicals
are toxic by-products that are released when the body transforms food into energy
or when it fights off infection.  In the human diet, most of the carotenoids are
provided by fruits and vegetables.  The most common dietary carotenoids are:
Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Provitamin A carotenoids can be converted by the body into retinol.  Retinol is the
dietary form of vitamin A, and is important in vision and bone growth.  The
provitamin A carotenoids are: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and
beta-cryptoxanthin.  Carotenoids that have no vitamin A activity and cannot be
converted into retinol are:  Lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.   

Deficiency of Carotenoids:
Consumption of provitamin A carotenoids can prevent vitamin A deficiency.  No
observable deficiency symptoms have been identified in individuals who consume a
diet that is low in carotenoids, as long as they get adequate vitamin A.  Vitamin A
deficiency causes blindness and diminishes the ability to fight infections.  Some studies
show that vitamin A deficiency may also increase children's risk of developing
respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development,
and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illnesses.

Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.  Therefore, it is
important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.

Toxicity (Carotenoids Overdose):
Eating extremely large amounts of beta-carotene and lycopene rich foods can cause
discoloration of the skin by adding yellow or deep orange tones.  

Caution: Eating natural foods that are high in carotenoids is the safest and healthiest
way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient.  Due to risk of toxicity, individuals
should always consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before starting
doses of supplements.  Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that
you first consult with their pediatrician.  Also, some supplements may interfere with
medications.  If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with
your physician before taking any supplements.  All supplements should be kept in
childproof bottles and out of children's reach.

Carotenoids Food Chart (List of Foods High in Carotenoids):

Alpha-Carotene:  pumpkin, carrots, winter squash, plantains, dark leafy greens,
tomatoes, tangerines, and peas

Beta-Carotene:  pumpkin, sweet potato, dark leafy greens, carrots, winter squash, and

Beta-Cryptoxanthin:  pumpkin, sweet red peppers, papayas, orange juice, tangerines,
carrots, watermelon, yellow corn, paprika, oranges, and nectarines.

Lycopene:  tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, beans, and
sweet red peppers

Lutein + Zeaxanthin:  dark leafy greens, summer squash, winter squash, peas,
broccoli, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, and sweet yellow corn


American Dietetic Association: Complete Food And Nutrition Guide (2nd Edition)
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and More
Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH

University of Maryland Medical Center -

Linus Pauling Institute -

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Eating foods that are high in
carotenoids can help to prevent
illnesses such as cardiovascular
disease and some cancers.  
Studies show that eating foods
that are high in lycopene can help
to reduce the risk of developing
prostate cancer, particularly the
more aggressive forms.   Eating
foods that are high in lutein and
zeaxanthin may help to slow the
development of age-related
macular degeneration and
cataracts.  Foods that are high in
carotenoids include fruits and
vegetables with vivid colors such
Copyright ©
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only.  Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise
Mission Statement       Article Submissions       Contact Us       Advertise        Privacy Policy       Terms and Conditions       Links
The World's
Food, Rich in Beta
Carotene and

What Kinds of
Internal Body
Cleansing Are

Correct Your Acid
Alkaline Balance
By The Water You

Behold The
Benefits of Omega
3 Fatty Acids For
Your Overall Well-

Colon Cleansing
With Bentonite Clay

Probiotics - A
Solution for
Bloating, Gas, IBS,
Skin Infections,
Tooth Decay,
Diarrhea and More

Is Vitamin D3
Deficiency a
National Health

Elderberry Can
Boost The
Immune System In
The Winter

Walking: Safest,
Simplest, Best
Form of Exercise

Detoxing The
Liver - Does
Lemon Juice
Detox the Liver?

The Benefits of
Wheatgrass Juice

The Danger of
Eating Too Much

The Health Secrets
of Berries

The Benefits of
Maintaining Your
Body's Healthy pH

“Feed” Your Skin
Antioxidants For A

The Sneak Attack
of Trans-Fats

The Many Health
Benefits of
Coconut Oil

Untold Nutritional

Importance of
Nutrition For
& Parents

Power Nutrition

Good Nutrition: The
Overlooked Vitamin
You Need To Know

Post Workout
Nutrition: Secrets
To A Hard, Lean

Cheap and Healthy
Nutrition Plans

Top Nutritional
Tips To
Support Healthy
Hair Growth

Nutrition And
Mental Function

The Top 11 Signs
That Suggest
Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Five Reasons Why
You Should Drink
More Water
Marketplace (Organic/Eco-Friendly)











Herbs & Spices


Nutiva Organic,
Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil Reviews
Custom Search
Coconut Oil Research
Gluten-Free Recipes
Raw-Vegan Recipes