The fact that vegetables are stuffed with healthy substances is not news. The color, or pigment of the vegetable, is what gives one of many positive effects. A dark purple eggplant is good for you in a different way than an orange carrot since it contains other substances. Orange carrots are precisely what we will be focusing on in this text. Not only are carrots rich in fiber – they are also very good for your skin.
Carrots contain the antioxidant beta carotene. Beta carotene is just one of more than 600 different carotenoids found in nature. Some other common carotenoids are lutein (kale), zeaxanthin (blueberry) and lycopene (tomatoes).
Like other antioxidants, carotenoids protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are substances that form when oxygen is converted (i.e. when we breathe), so it cannot be avoided. The free radicals have an uneven number of electrons in their shell. To fill the shell, they take electrons from other molecules in the body, which in turn are converted to free radicals. This chain reaction can lead to both cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from forming by donating one of their own electrons to the free radical, which then becomes stable. So by eating carotenoids, the amount of free radicals can be decreased and there is less risk of illness,
What makes the carotenoids particularly good for the skin is that they can be converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A stimulates collagen build-up in the skin’s second layer (the dermis) and boosts the renewal of the skin’s first layer epidermis. Collagen production decreases as we age, so eating foods rich in carotenoids can be considered a natural anti-aging boost. Of course, you can also eat vitamin A, but since it is mainly found in intestinal foods like liver, many people might prefer to indulge in carrots, mangoes, papaya, pumpkin, apricots, and peaches. Moreover, these foods have many other benefits, such as fibers and other vitamins and antioxidants. When you get carotenoids from one of these sources, it takes about two to four hours for the liver to convert them to vitamin A, which is then transported to the skin.
Women and men need to consume 700 RE* and 900 RE vitamin A respectively each day, and it is not surprising that carrots top the list in terms of carotene content. A normal-sized (70 g) carrot contains a full 600 RE. Remember that carotenoids are fat-soluble and are best absorbed if you eat them together with fat. Cooking the carrots together with a little butter or pouring a teaspoon of cold-pressed rapeseed oil in the mango smoothie is both good and smart.
*RE = Retinol Equivalent