Friday, October 29, 2010

Around the World of Antioxidants - Alpha-Carotene & Beta-Carotene in Moringa

Carotenoids are group of colorful red, orange, yellow pigments which are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. In Carotenoid family, there are six important members to human body - Alpha-carotene, Beta-carotene, Beta-cryptoxanthin, Lutein, Lycopene, and Zeaxanthin.

Among those six important members of Carotenoid family, Lycopene is the only one not available in Moringa tree. Lycopene is found in red fruits like carrots, tomatoes, watermelons, papayas, but not in straberries, and cherries. Lycopene is commonly existed in our diet, but it is not a essential nutrient for human body.

Moringa leaves contain 3 to 5 times more Beta-carotene than carrots (ounce per ounce). About 7 to 8 mg of Beta-carotene are available in 100 g (3 oz) fresh Moringa leaves, and 18.9 mg Beta-carotene in 100 g dried Moringa leaves. There is about 6.78 mg Alpha-carotene in fresh Moringa leaves (100g) , and 1.7 g fat. 2.3g of fat is found in 100g dried Moringa leaves also. Fat makes Alpha-carotene and Beta-carotene to be absorbed by body easily.

Alpha-carotene and Beta-carotene convert to Vitamin A in our body, and Beta-carotene is almost double effective than Alpha-carotene in their converter ability. Beta-carotene also are more common than Alpha-carotene. If you see a fruit or vegetable has more orange color, it contains more Beta-carotene than Alpha-carotene.

Alpha-carotene and Beta-carotene are both play antioxidant role in our body. In this role, Alpha-carotene is more effective than Beta-carotene. Antioxidants can remove destructive free radicals from our body before they harm our body tissue. Antioxidants can also stabilize free radicals and repair damaged cells.

Benefit of Alpha-carotene and Beta-carotene:
1. To help cells to have better communication which in long run to prevent cells overgrowth and cancer.
2. To boost immune system.
3. To provide sufficient amount of Vitamin A to our body. Abundant amount of Vitamin A helps to prevent blindness, maternal mortality. Vitamin A also increases body’s ability to fight infection.

Moringa as a ancient tropical plant has been enjoyed by people live in India, Africa, Thailand, and Philippines for more than two thousands years. Every parts of Moringa tree are useful. It provides food and nutrition for people, and it also consider as nature’s medicine cabinet.

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