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• Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Carotenoids are chemicals with nutritive properties that exist in the pigment that colors plants and animals. As a fat-soluble material, carotenoids are ingested by humans in countless colorful fruits and vegetables. They are important as antioxidants, as well as in their capacity to get converted to essential vitamins.

Carotenoids are organic pigments that are found in plants, vegetables, fruits and some photosynthetic organisms (algae, fungi, bacteria, etc.) giving them specific coloring. These pigments generally include lutein, lycopene, alpha carotene, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Carotenoids occurring in green plant tissues tend to be covered by chlorophyll so that their presence only becomes evident after the green pigment has degraded – as it does when you cook the plant – or when it begins to die in the autumn. Carotenoids also bring natural color to organisms which themselves do not produce them, such as salmon, lobster and shrimp. When such creatures are deprived of carotenoids from the plants which they normally ingest, they lose their remarkable color.


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