Orange You Glad For Beta-Carotene


Orange You Glad For Beta-Carotene
By
Cindy Kerschner

Everyone recognizes pumpkins, butternut squash and carrots as great vegetable sources for Beta-Carotene by their bright orange color. Did you know that leafy greens like kale, collards, mustard greens and turnip greens are equally (and in some cases better) sources of this important antioxidant?
Current research indicates that consuming a diet rich in Beta-Carotene containing foods may reduce the risks of certain cancers and offer some protection against heart disease. Beta-Carotene converts into vitamin A in our bodies which benefits our overall health.
To get the most Beta-Carotene benefits from these foods you need to cook them with a little fat! What’s that you say, “I’m trying to avoid fat, that’s WHY I’m eating veggies!” I hear you, really I do!
Remember all you need to do is choose an appropriate fat. Beta-Carotene is water soluble and needs to cling to fat molecules for our bodies to absorb it.
Selecting olive oil for example, will do the trick and you get the added bonus of Omega-3!
Here are some great sources of Beta-Carotene:

Pumpkin
Spinach
Sweet potato
Collards
Kale
Turnip greens, frozen
Winter squash
Carrots and carrot juice
Dandelion greens
Cantaloupe
Yellow and orange peppers

Remember that for good overall health you need to consume Beta-Carotene in moderation or take the chance of developing Carotenodermia! That’s right it’s the dreaded orange skin condition from eating too many carrots (but they are so delicious)! Don’t worry. The color goes away when you stop eating them unless you are a flamingo! That’s right, flamingoes get their pinkish color from eating algae containing Beta-Carotene.

Here are some great recipes from us at Daily Dish to get you started!
Busy Vegetarian Mom
Sweet Potato Layered Mexican Casserole
Vegan Chipotle Black Bean Sweet Potato Pierogies
Roasted Garlic Rosemary Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprouts
Cinco De Mayo! Grilled Chipotle Butternut Tostadas
Butternut Nectarine Cobbler 
A’lil Country Sugar
Butternut Pound Cake 
Spatulas on Parade
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
Kale Salad 
Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Family Food Find

Russian Mushroom Potato Leek Soup
Roasted Carrots
Vegetable Lasagna
Kale Slaw
Island Kale Salad
Sweet Potato Kale Pizza
Baked Parmesan Kale Chips
Vegetarian Southern Style Collard Greens
Stuffed Pumpkin
Pumpkin Muffins
Clementine Scented Carrot Cupcakes Pumpkin Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal
Butternut Squash with Browned Butter Sage Sauce
BinomialBaker
Whole Wheat Gingersnap-Pecan Pumpkin Pie
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Vegan Pumpkin Orange Cake
Easy Pumpkin Purée

This article is intended for educational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Consult your doctor before starting any new diet.
Sources:
University of Illinois
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/pumpkins/nutrition.cfm

National Institutes Of Health
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

Oregon State University Micronutrient Center
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/carotenoids/index.html

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