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Carotenes

The darker the color, the better for your health

Carotenes are red, orange and yellow colored pigments found in all plant foods. In general, the greater the intensity of color, the higher the level of carotenes. Your body converts carotenes into vitamin A, a nutrient recognized as vital to the growth and development of the human body.

Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to supply your body with carotene. It can help reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence as well as help protect you from developing some other cancers. Carotenes are also antioxidants that boost your immune system and can help reduce your risks of having a heart attack or stroke.

How to increase carotenes in your diet:

• Include fruits and vegetables high in carotene at every meal.
• Have fruits for snacks.
• Frozen fruits and vegetables are also good sources of carotene.
• Use fruits in desserts or as toppings.
• Try low sodium vegetable juices or make your own.
• Eat boiled sweet potatoes or okra as snacks.
• Include stir fry dishes, casseroles, soups, fruit and vegetable salads in your meals.
• Snack on broccoli, carrots, bell pepper and asparagus sticks and a low fat dip.
• Eating well improves your overall health.

Here’s a list of good sources of carotene:
Apricots
Asparagus
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Cherries
Collard Greens
Corn
Cucumber
Endive
Grapefruit
Green Beans
Guava
Kale
Lemon
Mango
Mustard Greens
Okra
Oranges
Papaya
Passion Fruit
Peas
Peppers
Persimmon
Plantains
Prunes
Pumpkin
Spinach
Squash
Sweet Potato
Swiss Chard
Tangerine
Tomato
Turnip Greens
Vegetable Juice/Soup
Watermelon

Talk with your physician or a dietitian if you have questions about nutrition. To help maintain overall health, follow a nutritious diet that includes a variety of foods low in fat, sugar, salt and cholesterol and make exercise a regular activity in your life.

Recipes with good sources of carotene

Rainbow Pasta Salad
1 bag rainbow rotini noodles
½ c. sliced olives
2 tomatoes, chopped *
½ round onion, thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, cut in small pieces*
1 cucumber, diced*
1 8oz. bottle low fat Italian dressing

Boil noodles according to directions. Microwave broccoli for 30 seconds. In a mixing bowl, add noodles and remaining ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Toss before serving.

Joan’s Copper Penny Carrots
5-6 cups coin cut carrots*
1 cup sugar
1 t salt
1/2 cup salad oil
1 medium size sweet onion, chopped
1 t Worcestershire Sauce
1 small green pepper, chopped*
3/4 cup vinegar
1 (10 oz.) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted*

Cook carrots until soft, drain and cool. Combine remaining ingredients together, mix well. Pour mixture over the carrots and marinate covered for at least 12 hours.

* good sources of carotene