Beta-carotene is a natural chemical that belongs to the category of carotenes or carotenoids. Carotenes are present in almost all the coloured fruits and vegetables. They are the colouring agents that are responsible for the orange colourof many fruits and vegetables. Carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes owe their rich blush to carotenes.
Human body is capable of converting beta carotene into vitamin A. It serves as an antioxidant, just like vitamin E and Vitamin C. Dark green and orange-yellow vegetables are abundant sources of beta carotene. Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, apricots, and green peppers contain this natural chemical in plenty.
Beta-carotene as such is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is an indispensable ingredient of a healthy diet.
People take in beat-carotene for protecting themselves from cancer and heart disorders. It also helps in slowing down the progression of eye ailments such as cataract. Beta carotene effectively helps in preventing macular degeneration and boosts our immunity power.
It is also found to protect our skin from being damaged by sunburn. Beat carotene also offers protection from ailments such as asthma, depression, Parkinson’s disease, cervical dysplasia, arthritis and psoriasis. People suffering from increased blood pressure are also advised to take in more victuals that are rich in beta-carotene.
Beta carotene is considered as a relatively safe nutrient. However, experts are concerned about the health irregularities caused by high doses of beta-carotene. If taken in increased doses, beta carotene is likely to make a slight increase in the risk of heart disease and cancer.
This is all the more true in case of people who are addicted to cigarettes and take in excessive alcohol. Certain other bodily symptoms also get manifested as a result of the increased intake of beta-carotene. Such side-effects include diarrhoea and a yellowish tinge to the skin.
Generally the extent of both these symptoms gets lowered when the dietary or supplementary intake of beta-carotene is enhanced.