Monday, April 30, 2012

The Glow Diet: Part II

So the last time I explained to you the benfits of vitamin A and how to use it effectively to reap the most benefits. So having explained vitamin A, I cannot omit the nutrient that makes vitamin A production possible. Drum roll please!

Beta Carotene

Provitamin A carotenoids represents a group of compounds that are precursors of vitamin A. Contrary to what many believe, vitamin A is not present in plants so our bodies use carotenoids to make vitamin A. One popular carotenoid is lycopene, which helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Research has shown that 12 ounces of carrots, amounting to 30 milligrams of beta carotene, can help prevent or reduce the redness and inflammation associated with sunburn. According to Ronald R. Watson, Ph.D., professor of public health research at Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, "Beta carotene accumulates in the skin, providing 24-hour protection against sun damage." Other carotenoids such a lutein also works synergistically with vitamin E in preventing damage caused by free radicals such as redness associated with sunburn as well as reduce sensitivity to sunlight.

Best sources for beta carotene are sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, callaloo, fresh thyme, cantaloupe, paw paw, romaine lettuce and broccoli.

How to Get the Most from Beta Carotene

In some cases, cooking can enhance the availability of carotenoids in foods such as lightly steaming carrots and callaloo. However in most cases, prolonged cooking can decrease the availability of carotenoids. If you drink or smoke, you may be lowering the level of beta carotene in your blood.

Coming Soon:
 Part III: Vitamin C

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