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What are carotenoids?

Carotenoids are the orange, yellow and red pigments found in plant tissue that allow it to carry out photosynthesis and may provide antioxidant-like benefits to the body. These include beta-carotene (which can be converted to vitamin A),lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Foods high in carotenoids?

Carotenoids are often found in red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables. Some foods high in carotenoids include bell peppers, spinach, melons, carrots, oranges, mangoes, sweet potatoes, and kale. 

What colors are carotenoid foods?

Although most commonly found in red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables, you can also find carotenoids in many green vegetables. 

How much carotenoids do I need daily?

Carotenoids can be converted in the body to active vitamin A, or retinal. The amount of carotenoids needed daily is measured as retinol activity equivalents, which is the amount of carotenoids equal to 1 mcg retinol. Male adults need 900 mcg and female adults need 700 mcg retinol activity equivalents daily. 

Are carotenoids water soluble?

Carotenoids are part of the vitamin A family, which are insoluble in water. This means they are best absorbed when consumed with fat. 

Related Terms

Lycopene Isoflavones

Learn more about Carotenoids:

Photo of Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson

Medically reviewed by:

Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson, Ph.D., RD

Kristin is an RDN who also earned her Ph.D. in Nutrition from Arizona State University with an emphasis on insulin resistance, lipid metabolism disorders, and obesity. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Mayo Clinic where she focused on nutrition-related proteomic and metabolic research. Her interests include understanding the exact mechanism of action of various genetic variations underlying individual predispositions to nutrition-related health outcomes. Her goal is to help all individuals prevent chronic diseases and achieve long, healthy lives through eating well.

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