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    Carotenoids – Plant dye with superpowers

Carotenoids – Plant dye with superpowers

Carotenoids give peaches, carrots or peppers their red and yellow colour. This doesn´t just look nice but is also beneficial for your health as it supports our cells conquering daily stress. Active cell protection and regeneration is important for all, no matter if the stress is related to job, sport or your private life.
Secondary plant substances

Secondary plant extracts are exclusively found in plant based foods. They are the colourant, odor and flavour of plants and have various health-promoting properties similar to vitamins. The group of carotenoids are yellow-red colorants. Up to this day over 600 carotenoids are knows and can be found in almost all types of fruit and vegetables, also in green ones such as broccoli, peas and beans. A well-known carotenoid is beta-carotene, which is the most important precursor of vitamin A.

Active cell protection

Carotenoids can protect the human body from damaged caused by free radicals as they bind them at an early stage. This function gives carotenoids a high importance when it comes to the immune system as damaged cells are less resistant to pathogens. Studies show that some carotenoids can even directly affect cancerous cells.

Free radicals and oxidative stress

Free radicals are aggressive oxygen compounds which are absorbed from the environment or are formed in the metabolism itself. They are created wherever oxygen is “used”, e.g. when you´re stressed, do sports or smoke. A large amount can damage cells massively. Aging, damage to DNA, tissue alterations and faster degrading of nerve cells are possible consequences.  Carotenoids and other antioxidants can make such free radicals ineffective.

To achieve a healthy level of such „radical scavengers“ it’s important to eat lots of fresh and colourful groceries. This will help supply enough vitamines and secondary plantextracts. However, it must be pointed out that the recommended intake differs from person to person. Make sure fruit and vegetables are processed and stored well, otherwise vitamins will be lost in the process.

Recipes for antioxidant smoothies

Blueberry Smoothie
Wash 200g blueberries and 200g blackberries. Leave aside two tablespoons of berries as garnish. Place in a shallow dish and freeze for about 30 minutes. Blend all berries, one tablespoon of honey, three dates, 300ml almond milk and/or 300g of yoghurt until it´s a smooth texture. Fill in glasses and garnish with the remaining berries

Kale Smoothie

Wash approx. 75 g kale, remove the stem and cut into small pieces. Peel an orange, half a banana and cut a ginger into small cubes. Blend everything with 150ml water and mix until there are no pieces left.  

Autor: Olympiazentrum Vorarlberg