Carotenoids: Micronutrients essential for a healthy life - Nepal Medicos Times
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Carotenoids: Micronutrients essential for a healthy life

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The famous Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of pharmacology, has a well-known saying, 'Make food your medicine and medicine your food'.

Carotenoids are essential micronutrients obtained through our diet, which play an important role in performing various biochemical reactions and functions in the body. All carotenoids are fat-soluble natural chemicals.

Beta (carotene B), which is essential for the biological synthesis of vitamin A, is a member of the essential carotenoid family. Apart from beta carotene, phytoin, lutein, xanthine, lycopene, crocin, estagentin etc. found in various sources are also carotenoids needed to keep our body healthy.

As carotenoids act as excellent antioxidants, they are also essential for the management of oxidative stress in the body during various chemical reactions. Research has also shown that having the right amount of carotenoids in the body can reduce the risk of eye problems such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging, and reduce the risk of health problems such as cataracts and help the brain to function more efficiently.

Carotenoids also play an important role in the regular growth and development of women, fetuses, and infants. Therefore, it is essential for people of all age groups to eat plenty of different carotenoids to keep their bodies healthy.

Carrots were first discovered to contain beta-carotene in 1831. About 100 years later, in the 1930's, the chemical structure of beta-carotene and vitamin E was discovered. So far, 1183 carotenoids have been detected from 702 different biological sources.

Carotenoids are mainly synthesized in photosynthetic plants and lizards. In addition, biological synthesis of carotenoids has been found in various bacteria and fungi. But with the exception of a few kits, no organism, including humans in the animal kingdom, can synthesize carotenoids biologically.

Many animals, including humans, which cannot synthesize carotenoids in their bodies, replenish the carotenoids they need in their bodies through plant and meat foods. Carnivorous animals are the main source of carotenoids, while humans are also getting carotenoids from milk and dairy products from various animals. In addition, the fact that various bacteria found in the intestines of humans and other animals provide biological synthesis of carotenoids and provide internal nutrition has also been confirmed.

The biological synthesis of carotenoids in plants takes place within a special cellular structure found inside the cell, called the plastid. Plastids on green leaves and leaves are called chloroplasts, while plastids on fruits and flowers of different colors are called chromoplasts. Carotenoids come in a variety of colors. Because of this, carotenoids that are stored in large quantities tend to be colored accordingly.

For example, betel-carotene is high in orange-colored carrots, oranges, ripe peas, etc., and lycopene is found in red-colored lamb and strawberries. Yellow centipede flowers contain lutein and golden corn kernels contain xanthine. The green leaves of plants also contain carotenoids including lutein, beta-carotene and xanthine. But different plants synthesize and store different types of carotenoids.

From infancy to old age, it is essential to eat plenty of nutrients to keep our body healthy. Since carotenoids play an important role in protecting the body from various diseases by keeping the various biological activities occurring in the body, it is important to consume adequate amounts of carotenoids.
Regular seasonal fresh fruits of different colors (such as oranges, seasonal, junar, mango, banana, nuts, melons, pears, etc.), vegetables (such as carrots, lamb, ripe beans, chillies, golden maize, etc.), groundnuts (sakharkhand) , Yams, etc.), and green vegetables to meet the needs of our body carotenoids and help the body to stay healthy.

Similarly, fish, meat, eggs, milk and dairy foods are also reliable sources of carotenoids. Although carotenoids are equally important for people of all age groups, they are considered essential nutrients for children and the elderly.