As this is the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought that I’d take a look at the wonderful benefits of eating fruit and vegetables that contain beta – carotene.Peach Smoothie 107[2]

What the heck is beta -carotene you may ask?

Beta-carotene is the yellow-orange pigment that you find in fruits such as mangoes, papayas and cantaloupe, and in vegetables such as carrots and yams. You also find it in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, you just can’t see it as the chlorophyll in green leafy vegetables masks it.

Why are beta-carotene foods so good for us?

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant (click here for more info on antioxidants) that helps to fight free radical damage in your body. It provides us with vitamin A which is great for our eye health, but it’s more than just vitamin A. Beta-carotene has the ability to penetrate the cell membrane and then it waits, ready to fight off any free radicals that dare to approach the cell. Amazing or what!

Eating just two large carrots a day, that’s 30 milligrams of beta-carotene, will boost your immunity so lowering your risk of chronic disease. Remember that you have to keep your levels topped up, so this means that you need to eat foods rich in beta -carotene every day.

The Institute of Medicine encourages women to consume 3 to 6 milligrams of beta-carotene—each day to reduce the risk of breast cancer. One medium sweet potato contains two to three times the recommended dietary intake of beta-carotene, which will help reduce the risk for cancer and boost the immune system. Other good sources of beta-carotene include:

Carotenoid

Food

Serving Size

Beta-Carotene

Spinach
Kale
Mustard Greens
Carrots
Butternut Squash
Pumpkin
Cantaloupe
Red Peppers
One cup (cooked)
One cup (cooked)
One cup (cooked)
12 baby carrots
One cup cubed (cooked)
One cup (mashed)
One cup (sliced)
One cup (chopped)
11.3 mg
10.6 mg
10.4 mg
10.1 mg
9.4 mg
5.1 mg
3.2 mg
2.4 mg

 

As well as eating these lovely carotenoid rich vegetables, also eat natural soy products such as edamame and soy beans as they provide protective benefits for cancer prevention and overall health.

You should also check out my blog post from a couple of weeks ago on the power of cruciferous veg to fight cancer Just click here to read it.

Needless to say you should avoid alcohol, dairy products, red and processed meat products.

To get more details about applying the precautionary principle to nutrition and cancer please click here. This is a set of six precautionary principles to reduce the risk of cancer occurrence.

If you’d like to attend a Food for Life Cancer Prevention and Survival class just click here.

*Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2007. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, www.ndb.nal.usda.gov

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