Healthy Habits – Bringing the Spa Life into Your Home
When I first heard the word carotenoid, jokingly I thought it was some type of steroid derived from carrots. Maybe I wasn’t that far off. Carotenoids are those vitamin-like plant pigments that play an important role in both plant and human health. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, like carrots, use these pigments for a number of essential cellular functions: they help absorb light during photosynthesis and serve as antioxidants, fighting off free-radicals. The antioxidant properties of lycopene, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein (all carotenoids) have been found to decrease the risk of various diseases in people. With over 600 known varieties of these carotenoids it should be fairly easy for you add a few into your next meal.
Here are a few things you can do to put more carotenoids in your diet:
- Apricots, mangos, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, tomatoes, plums and even spinach and kale are all high in carotenoids. If your salad or smoothie is brightly colored you’re off to a good start.
- Cooking a carrot will release more carotenoids but this isn’t true for all vegetables or fruits. Raw is generally better with most.
- Once picked many of the antioxidants in fresh fruit and veggies will gradually become less effective. Buy and consume fresh produce frequently. You’ll get more carotenoids and your local farmer will thank you.
Carotenoid Smoothie Recipe:
Start with a base of coconut water and fresh orange juice. Next add avocado, beetroot, tumeric (go easy), sweet potato, carrots and some red cabbage. Garnish with some minced ginger.
Here’s to your health!