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Eye Spy Carotenoids 😉

Updated: May 15

The name "carotenoids" originates from the Latin word "carota," which means carrot. Carotenoids were first discovered and isolated from carrots, hence the association with the vegetable's name. Carotenoids are a group of pigments found in plants, algae, and some bacteria. They are responsible for the vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors in many fruits and vegetables. While they were initially identified in carrots, they are present in a wide variety of plant species, contributing to the colors of foods like tomatoes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers, among others. The name "carotenoids" has been retained to refer to this group of pigments, even though their presence is not exclusive to carrots.

Carotenoids are classified into two main types: carotenes and xanthophylls.

  1. Carotenes: Carotenes are hydrocarbons, meaning they contain only carbon and hydrogen atoms. Examples include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and lycopene. Beta-carotene is the most well-known and commonly studied carotene. It's found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. In the body, beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A, which is essential for vision, immune function, and skin health.

  2. Xanthophylls: Xanthophylls contain oxygen atoms in addition to carbon and hydrogen. Examples include lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are particularly important for eye health, as they accumulate in the retina and help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. They are found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens, as well as in yellow corn and egg yolks.

Did you know that birds develop bright yellow to red colors due to their diets rich in carotenoids? In autumn leafage, which is devoid of chlorophyll, the yellows and oranges of the carotenoids are mainly seen. Similarly, in ripe fruit after being unmasked by the disappearance of chlorophyll, we see colors due to carotenoids. It is interesting to note that some of the carotenoids-rich fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkins and squash, come in season during the fall season.

Well, in the realm of nutrition, the vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables that paint our plates offer far more than just visual appeal. Among these, the golden hues of yellow and orange denote a treasure trove of nutrients that promote overall well-being. From supporting eye health to fortifying bones and bolstering the immune system, these plant-based ingredients serve as pillars of vitality. Through a concoction of creative recipes, harnessing the power of these golden gifts, we can craft dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also nourish our bodies from within. Some nutritionally dense creations are shown below.

Pineapple mango super-nutrient smoothie crafted with mango, pineapple, carrot, hemp seeds, maca, turmeric, saffron, liposomal Vit C, Vit D, bamboo shoot extract in spring water. The bright yellow & orange-colored fruits plus vegetables contain zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, which is vitamin A. Great for eye, joints, & bone health, boosts the immune system and maintains the pH balance of the body 🍍💛

Raw carrot medicinal mushroom mousse- It is created by blending 1 grated carrot, 3 oz of coconut yogurt, 1 scoop of medicinal mushroom protein powder, 1/2 tsp of glucomannan powder in spring water 🦚🥕🧡 It can be topped with cinnamon and bee pollen 💫😊🙌 This mousse is packed with carotenoids, protein, medicinal mushroom benefits and glucomannan is a great digestive cum detox aid.

Probiotic carotenoid concoction- Blend red grapes in spring water, and warm them gently until slightly warm to the touch. Add in a couple of probiotic capsules and let it ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. It activates the probiotic strains but is still pretty sweet. I cover it with folded cheesecloth during summer to avoid over-fermentation. To this, add some cherry tomatoes, goji berries (I used fresh), carrot, tocotrienols, botanical vitamin C, a dropper of medicinal tincture of choice, a dropper of coriander seed oil, sea salt, and blend. It is so delicious with a sweet grape-slightly sour tomato-goji flavor. Tincture and coriander seed oil takes it to the next level while increasing nutrient absorption into the cells 🧡🎊🌞 This drink supports heart, eye, and skin health. Probiotics, coriander seed oil, immune-boosting tincture, and Vitamins A and C in this drink keep the immune system healthy.


Supporting Eye Health

Among the most celebrated benefits of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables is their support for eye health. Rich in carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, these foods offer potent antioxidants that protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Recipes featuring ingredients like sweet potatoes, carrots, and mangoes not only add vibrant color to our meals but also provide essential nutrients for maintaining sharp vision well into the golden years.

Promoting Joint Health

Inflammation lies at the root of many joint-related ailments, including arthritis. Fortunately, the anti-inflammatory properties of certain yellow and orange fruits and vegetables can offer relief and support joint health. Ingredients like turmeric, known for its active compound curcumin, have long been revered for their ability to reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain. Incorporating turmeric into recipes such as golden milk or roasted vegetable curry can offer functional benefits for soothing tired joints.

Fortifying Bone Strength

Beyond their striking appearance, the golden pigments found in fruits and vegetables signify the presence of vital nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene, all of which contribute to bone health. These nutrients play crucial roles in bone formation, density, and strength, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Recipes featuring ingredients like butternut squash, oranges, and yellow bell peppers offer a delicious way to fortify bones and ensure skeletal resilience throughout life.

Bolstering the Immune System

A robust immune system serves as the body's first line of defense against illness and infection. Fortunately, the nutrients abundant in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables provide ample support for immune function. Vitamin C, in particular, acts as a potent antioxidant that enhances immune response and protects against pathogens. Meals incorporating citrus fruits, golden beets, and apricots provide the essential nutrients needed to keep the immune system strong and resilient.


Incorporating a rainbow of colors onto our plates is not merely a culinary indulgence but a deliberate act of self-care. Through the inclusion of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables in our diets, we not only delight in their vibrant hues but also reap a myriad of health benefits. From supporting eye health and joint function to fortifying bones and bolstering the immune system, these golden treasures offer a holistic approach to wellness. By embracing plant-based recipes that celebrate the bounties of nature, we nourish our bodies and cultivate vitality from within.

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