Carotenoids are a group of important compounds found in green vegetables and yellow and multicolored fruits that have a wide variety of health benefits. The skin benefits from carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, in a number of ways. Among the various types of carotenoids including, lutin, lycopene and zeaxanthin, beta-carotene is perhaps the most well know and beneficial. The carotenoids work as a group to protect the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. Wrinkling, loss of healthy glow, age spots and reduced elasticity and skin cancers are just a few of the damaging effects of UV light that can be helped or almost entirely avoided by supplementing the diet with carotenoids. Yellow vegetables such as mangoes, carrots, squash, apricots as well as all varieties of green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, pink gape fruits and even watermelon all contain significant amounts of carotenoids. Regular consumption of these foods can help skin maintain its moisture, slow down damaging "cross linking" of proteins in the skin that result in age spots and loss of elasticity of skin. Carotenoids are also powerful antioxidants helping to maintain the health of skin cells including keeping water within cells helping to maintain supple, glowing, healthy looking skin.
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