Beta carotene is a plant pigment that gives red, orange, and yellow vegetables their vibrant color.
Beta carotene is considered a provitamin A carotenoid, meaning that the body can convert it into vitamin A (retinol).
Additionally, beta carotene has powerful antioxidant properties.
The name is derived from the Latin word for carrot. Beta carotene was discovered by the scientist Heinrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Wackenroder, who crystallized it from carrots in 1831.
What are the benefits?
In addition to serving as a dietary source of provitamin A, beta carotene functions as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals. When free-radical numbers get too high in the body, causing an imbalance, it leads to cellular and tissue damage, known as oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a known contributorTrusted Source to the development of certain chronic diseases. Antioxidants like beta carotene help reduce or prevent oxidative stress in the body.