Beta carotene is the pigment that gives fruit and vegetables like carrots and mangoes their bright colour. Getting plenty of beta carotene foods has two main health benefits:
- It is converted into Vitamin A in the body, which is needed for healthy skin, night vision and a good immune system.
- It is an antioxidant, which means that it protects against ageing and degenerative disease.
How to have more beta carotene foods in your diet
It’s not hard to find good sources of beta carotene. There are good amounts in many orange and dark green fruit and vegetables, such as:
- Sweet potatoes
Quick and easy recipe to get more beta carotene foods in your diet
Although it’s easy to find sources of beta carotene, finding the time to prepare healthy food isn’t always so easy. This smoothie only takes a few minutes to make and all its ingredients are good sources of beta carotene. The combination of mango, peach, tangerine and carrot make it sweet and refreshing at the same time. It uses ready-prepared mango and tinned peaches to cut down on preparation time. All you need to do is peel the carrot and tangerines, then put everything in a blender, food processor or smoothie maker. If your blender is powerful enough, then you can use frozen mango, which will make the smoothie nicely chilled. If not, defrost the mango first or use fresh prepared mango and add ice cubes to the blended smoothie if required.
Note: canned mango is available, but it is usually in syrup not juice and so is not such a healthy option.
The ingredients in this smoothie have lots of other health benefits too. They all provide fibre (important for digestive system function) and vitamin C (needed for many things, including for the immune system and formation of connective tissue). In addition, carrots and mangoes are a good source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. For more detailed information on beta carotene and health, see this article by The University of Maryland Medical Centre.
BETA CAROTENE SMOOTHIE
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup mango, fresh or frozen
2 satsumas, peeled and segmented
1 tin peaches in juice
Defrost the mango if necessary
Put all the ingredients, including the juice from the peaches, into blender and then blend until smooth
Best drunk straight away, but it will keep a day or two in the fridge
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