beta-carotenemedical dictionary

An antioxidant which protects cells against oxidation damage that can lead to cancer. Beta carotene is converted, as needed, to vitamin A.

A yellow carotenoid pigment that gives a reddish colour to plants such as carrots and tomatoes. It is often used as a vitamin supplement because the liver can convert it into Vitamin A.

Food sources of beta-carotene include vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and other leafy green vegetables; and fruit such as cantaloupes and apricots. Excessive carotene in the diet can temporarily yellow the skin, a condition called carotenaemia, commonly seen in infants fed largely mushed carrots.

(12 Dec 1998)