Have you heard? People that consume a diet that is rich in carotenoids from natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier and have lower mortality from a number of chronic illnesses. Probably the most well-known carotenoid is the one that gives this second group its name, carotene, found in carrots (also apricots) and are responsible for their bright orange colour. Carotenoids have many physiological functions. Given their structure, carotenoids are efficient free radical scavengers, and they enhance the vertebrate immune system. There are several dozen carotenoids in foods people consume, and most carotenoids have antioxidant activity. Epidemiological studies have shown that people with high β-carotene intake and high plasma levels of β-carotene have a significantly reduced risk of lung cancer.
Given that it is harvest season, there has never been a better time to get into orange fruits and veggies! With so much of the fresh early fall produce being orange in pigment, just imagine all of those healthy antioxidants that you are giving your body!