Did you know that there are over 700 different carotenoids that have been discovered in nature? They are found in the color pigments of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Carotenoids are high in antioxidants, which help the body to get rid of free radicals, fight disease and reverse the signs of aging. Beta-carotene is also known to convert into vitamin A, which is essential for healthy looking skin and hair. Therefore, it is essential that you add carotenoids to your diet in as many ways as possible.
Here are 6 ways to add carotenoids to your diet:
Avocados are an excellent source of a carotenoid known as lutein. It is a great antioxidant which helps to protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. Not only are avocados a good source of carotenoids, the high amounts of healthy fats which they contain help the body to absorb carotenoids from your other foods as well. Avocados are great in salads, guacamole, on toast with salsa, or plain in their natural form.
2. Fresh Salads
Fresh salads are one of the easiest ways to add carotenoids to your diet. The more colorful the salads are, the more carotenoids you are adding to your diet, as each color represents a different carotenoid. Garden salads can easily be made with a wide variety of colors by combining red, yellow, and green peppers, red and white onions, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes. Fruit salads are also very easy to make, as you just combine a number of your favorite fruits, and serve as a snack or as desert.
Consuming lots of fruit and vegetable juices such as tomato, carrot or orange juices are also a great way to obtain lots of carotenoids.
4. Cooked Tomatoes
Cooked tomatoes are one of the best sources of lycopene, which helps to ward off cancer and reduces wrinkles. Tomatoes can be processed into salsa, paste or tomato sauce. Salsa is great when served with tortilla chips or on bread. Tomato sauce is great on pasta or pizza, and the paste is great in soups.
Lycopene is also found in red foods like watermelon, grapefruit, red grapes and guava. Since the body does not build up on this carotenoid, it is essential that you consume these foods on a regular basis to ensure your body is getting enough.
5. Vegetable Soups
Vegetable soups are always a hit on cold days to help keep you warm, but you can also make these soups to help you to get a variety of carotenoids into your diet. Red, yellow and green peppers, along with a variety of other vegetables such as carrots and celery, and some herbs and spices, nicely blend together to satisfy your taste buds. Plus, they provide you with essential vitamins and other nutrients.
Stews are another great way to blend many flavors and carotenoids in one dish. Potatoes, yams, carrots and other vegetables go well with meat or just about any meal.
The best way to obtain carotenoids is through your diet from lots of fruits and vegetables and herbs. You can also obtain them from a supplement, but you should do so with caution as they may be harmful.