What Is beta-Carotene & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of beta-Carotene (src)

beta-Carotene is an important nutrient and antioxidant.

It's classified as a provitamin A.

Provitamin A is one of two forms of vitamin A in our diets.

By far the most important provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene.

The body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient.

Table of Contents

beta-Carotene Is An Important Carotenoid

beta-Carotene is sometimes called provitamin A.

It is the most prominent member of the group of carotenoids.

Carotenoids are the largest of the vitamin A subclasses. (source )

Carotenoids are pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors.

beta-Carotene can be converted to vitamin A by enzymes in the intestinal wall and liver. (source )

The bioavailability of provitamin A is lower than once believed. So it is difficult to fulfill the daily requirements through plant foods alone.

Benefits Of beta-Carotene

beta-Carotene works as an antioxidant.

It is believed that beta-Carotene can be beneficial for cancer prevention.

However, the results of epidemiological studies are inconsistent, and the mechanisms of action of beta-carotene in cancer prevention are not clearly defined.

beta-Carotene is also believed to help increase immune cell numbers and activity.

beta-Carotene In Food

beta-Carotene is a natural colorant and an important antioxidant that occurs in many foods. (source )

beta-Carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially colorful vegetables. It can be found in yellow, orange, and green leafy vegetables and fruits.

Foods You Can Find beta-Carotene In

Paprika powder in a bowl
beta-Carotene is found in paprika powder

You find beta-Carotene mostly in vegetable, spices and herbs, and snack products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated, top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most beta-Carotene, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain beta-Carotene.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.