Natural Remedies for Immunity
Carotenoids and Immunity
More than six hundred carotenoids occur in plants, and about forty are found in vegetables and fruits in the average American diet. They are associated with vitamin A because the body converts some beta-carotene and other carotenoids
into vitamin A.
The carotenes are plant pigments that protect the plant from
damage during photosynthesis. They do so by acting as a powerful antioxidants. The best known
carotene is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene appears to neutralize free radicals and
prevents them from causing damage. When people eat
carotenoids, they derive benefits from the carotenoids' antioxidant qualities.
Carotene is an important nutrient in boosting immunity. It is a potent antioxidant. It also appears to help protect us against many forms of cancer.
Researchers have known as early as in 1930s that dietary carotenoids protected against ear, bladder, and other types of bacterial infections. In 1982, the U.S. National Academy of Science's Diet, Nutrition and Cancer report recommended diets high in beta-carotene and low in fat to reduce the risk of cancer. (2)
Besides beta carotene, there are other carotoids that have anti-oxidant
properties that also build resistance to disease. These include alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and gamma-carotene.
A diet with a diverse selection of vegetables and fruit provides the
benefits of these diverse carotenoids.
Beta-Carotene And Immunity
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Tomatoes and Cancer
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Richard P. Huemer, MD., and Jack Challem, Natural Health Guide to Beating the Supergerms, Pocket Books, New York.
Committee on Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, Assembly of Life Sciences, National Research Council, Diet, Nutrition and Cancer. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1982.