When you think of foods rich in beta-carotene, you think of carrots, isn't it? But, apart from carrots, there are other good dietary sources of this vital nutrient as well.
What Is Beta-carotene?
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, a type of fat-soluble carotenoid phytonutrient which is also known as vitamin A, because the body helps convert it into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is usually found in orange and yellow-coloured fruits and vegetables, and is also found in green and red fruits and vegetables.
Why Beta-carotene Is Good For You?
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help protect the cells from damage. Many studies have shown that, people who consume lots of fruits and vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene have a lower risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
How Much Beta-carotene Should You Take Per Day?
While there is a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A, there is no such thing for beta-carotene specifically. Studies have used dosages ranging between 15 and 180 mg per day.
List Of Foods High In Beta-carotene
According to the American Heart Association, it is suggested that you get beta-carotene from foods rather than supplements.
Here are some of the foods rich in beta-carotene:
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes top the list and beat carrots for being rich in beta-carotene. In a study published in the journal Food Chemistry, sweet potatoes with intense orange flesh were found to contain 226 micrograms of beta-carotene per 1 gram. And those with light orange flesh, the amount of beta-carotene was lower ranging from 11.8 micrograms to 29.8 micrograms.
Microgreens are the young seedlings of vegetables and herbs that are harvested and eaten. Microgreens such as cilantro, red cabbage, green basil, beet greens, buckwheat lettuce, etc., are popular among chefs and foodies. Because they are tasty and are perfect for garnishing soups and salads. In 1 gram of microgreens, up to 121 micrograms of beta-carotene is present.
3. Grape Leaves
Do you know that grape leaves are both edible and nutritious? Grape leaves can supply your body with a wide range of nutrients, including beta-carotene. Eating 100 grams of raw grape leaves will provide you with 16.1 milligrams of beta-carotene, according to the USDA data. Per 1 gram of fresh grape leaves contains up to 161 micrograms of beta-carotene.
Carrots are also one of the best sources of beta-carotene. Per 1 gram serving of raw carrots, it provides 83 micrograms of beta-carotene. Consider cooking carrots to improve the bioavailability of beta-carotene. A study found that, people who consumed cooked carrots compared to meals that contained raw carrots, could absorb beta-carotene more significantly. Also, women who ate cooked carrots absorbed three times as much beta-carotene.
Kale has a orange plant pigment that is rich in beta-carotene. 100 grams of raw kale delivers 5.9 milligrams of beta-carotene. And 1 gram of kale contains 59 micrograms of beta-carotene. Kale is also rich in iron, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorous. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese.
6. Moringa Leaves
Moringa leaves is a nutrient-packed superfood that has been used in Ayurveda for ages. Today, moringa leaves are found in the form of moringa leaf powder. Apart from being a rich source of beta-carotene, it's also packed with iron, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and protein. In 1 gram, about 67 micrograms of beta-carotene is present in moringa leaves.
1n 100 grams of serving of raw spinach, 5.6 milligrams of beta-carotene is present. A study found that the beta-carotene in spinach is more bioavailable if the spinach is minced or boiled before consumption. This is a very good reason to enjoy this leafy-green more. You can either add spinach in your smoothies, soups or even salads.
8. Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens are nutritious, and a carotenoid-rich food. Choose edible and fresh dandelion greens without any chemicals. In a 100 gram serving of raw dandelion leaves, about 5.9 milligrams of beta-carotene is present. In 1 gram of dandelion leaves, about 59 micrograms of beta-carotene is present. These greens also contains vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamine, calcium, iron and potassium.
Parsley is also one of the foods rich in beta-carotene, which comes with 1 gram containing 51 micrograms of beta-carotene. They are also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and iron. The health benefits of parsley include it being a rich source of antioxidants, which improves digestion, provides beneficial oil that fights cancer, contains antibacterial and antifungal properties.
10. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce is loaded with a myriad of nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals. In 1 gram of romaine lettuce, 52 micrograms of beta-carotene is present. In addition, it also provides a good source of vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, pantothenic acid, chromium, magnesium and calcium.
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