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Top 10 Foods High in Beta Carotene

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Beta carotene is one of a group of red, orange and yellow pigment found in plants and fruits especially carrots and various other colourful vegetables. It is also called as carotenoids and they provide approximately 50% of the vitamin A needed in our diet.


It can be found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The human body converts this beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol), beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A which is essential for healthy and mucus membranes, good eye health and vision.


Beta carotene is said to play a role in protecting cells, boosting the immune system and help in keeping the reproductive system healthy. It is the most common form of carotene and fat soluble vitamin, about 3 to 5 grams of fat is enough to ensure its absorption. It is present in the all-trans form in raw fruits and vegetables. It helps maintain proper night vision.


Top 10 Food highest in Beta-carotene are:


Asparagus: You find asparagus when spring season sets in. It is one of the amazing versatile green vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or relished raw in salads. To preserve the nutritional contents and antioxidant power of asparagus, quick-cooking or waterless methods is best. You could either roast, grill or stir- fry asparagus.


Eating asparagus without salt, butter or sauces would be best in getting most of its diuretic properties as salt can cause water retention. Regular intake of asparagus would help in keeping diabetes, heart diseases away. It also offers some level of protection against cancer and aids in healthy digestion.  Asparagus has 604µg per 100 gram serving of beta carotene.


Sweet potatoes: Sweet potato is a humble, less expensive starch rich tuber which is not only sweet to the taste buds but also good for cardiovascular health. This starch root vegetable is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and flavonoid anti-oxidants essential for optimal health. Baked sweet potatoes contains about 11509µg per 100 grams of beta carotene.




Carrot: Carrot is a naturally sweet, crunchy and delicious root vegetable which can be eaten raw and added to various salads. This root vegetable has power packed health benefiting compounds like beta-carotene, vitamin A, minerals, and antioxidants in ample amounts. Carrots are versatile and used in preparing a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Cooked carrot has about 8332µg per 100 grams of beta carotene.



Spices like Paprika, Chilli, and Cayenne: Cayenne peppers are fiercely hot and pungent to taste. They are one of the widely used spicy ingredients in many cuisines all over the world. Raw, fresh red chillies, raw cayenne are used in preparing numerous dishes like sauces, chutneys, curries, pickles etc across the world. Cayenne peppers are very rich sources of vitamins and minerals.  


Fresh cayenne peppers, red or green, are rich source of vitamin-C. It is said that about 100 g fresh chilies provide about 76.4 mg of vitamin C. They are considered to be the richest source of vitamin A among spices. Just 100 g of cayenne has 41,610 IU or amazingly 1387% of vitamin A. The spice contains very high levels of essential minerals. The beta-carotene is 26162µg per 100 grams


Kale: Kale is a very popular green vegetable since ancient greek times rich in vitamin A, K and C. It is also a very rich source of beta-carotene and has strong antioxidant and anti-cancer activities. This humble vegetable is health benefiting because it has no cholesterol and is low in fat. Kale is best added in salads, soups, stews etc. 100 gms of kale contains 8823µg of beta-carotene.


Coriander: Coriander or cilantro is extremely a flavourful and popular Mediterranean herb that is commonly known as coriander leaves or kotmir. This highly aromatic fresh herb is added to various savory dishes in almost all parts of the world.


Fresh coriander leaves is mostly used as a herb and has enormous medicinal properties. In southern India it is used in preparing the rasam that helps in digestion and getting rid of gas. Coriander also seems to have antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties.


It seems to help prevent infection of wounds, and can also be ground into a paste to treat rashes. Coriander is said to be the richest source of Vitamin K that has a potential role in bone mass building. It contains 3930µg per 100 grams of beta-carotene.




Butternut Squash: This vegetable comes from the pumpkin family having a pleasant nutty flavour and is mildly sweet to taste. You can add this vegetable to pies, pancakes, bread, muffins, stir-fries and it also adds a additional zest to vegetable salads.


This squash is used in preparing both sweet and savory dishes. Butternut squash has many vital antioxidants and vitamins. This vegetable in low calorie, and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Cooked butternut squash contains about 4570µg per 100 grams of beta-carotene.


Mustard Greens: Mustard greens are extensively used in northern India. It is native to sub-Himalayan plains of Indian sub-continent. They are extensively used as spice in South Asian regions. You can make a variety of dishes with mustard greens. These greens have a pungent and peppery flavor.


They are incredible source of Vitamin A, K and C. They are also rich source of anti-oxidants flavonoids, sulforaphane, carotenes, lutein and zea-canthin. A cup of cooked mustard greens have about 10360µg of beta-carotene.



Cabbage/ Bok Choy: Cabbage, especially Chinese bok-choy is a great source of beta carotene. This is a popular mainland crop grown in China, Philippines, Vietnam etc. The bok choy is widely popular mainly for its unique sweet taste and nutritional benefits.


Bok choy is rich source of vitamin A, carotenes other flavonoid anti-oxidants than cauliflower and cabbage. It is also a good source of vitamin K. 100 gms of fresh bok choy leaves provides 149% of daily required levels of vitamin A. You can add the bok choy in various salads and stir fries.


Romaine Lettuce: Lettuce is crispy green leafy vegetables packed with numerous essential nutrients. It is crunchy and adds great savor to green salads and healthy sandwiches. Lettuce leaves has plentiful of vitamins. They are very low in calories, i.e. 100 gms of fresh greens provide just 15 calories.


They are excellent source of several vitamin A and beta-carotene. 100 grams of fresh raw lettuce contain 4443 µg of beta-carotene Almost all the green-yellow-orange vegetables and fruits are rich sources of beta carotene. Do include these wonderful and attractive beta-carotene rich foods and eat wise and stay healthy always. It is important that we eat a rich whole meal full of all nutrients in moderate levels.


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VahChef Sanjay Thumma

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