Dietary Sources

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Carotenoids cannot be synthesized by humans; therefore they must be obtained from dietary sources. These are primarily highly pigmented red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables. The caro-tenoid lycopene is red; however, not all red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene. For example, the red in strawberries, apples, and cherries is a result of their anthocyanin content; whereas, tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit derive their red color from lycopene. The carotenoids fi-carotene, fi-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and viola-xanthin are yellow to orange, and phytoene and phytofluene are colorless. Green, leafy vegetables also contain carotenoids, whose colors are masked by the green color of chlorophyll. Table 1 lists car-otenoids found in fruits and vegetables. Smaller amounts are also available from animal sources

Table 1 Carotenoid content (mgperg fresh weight) of fresh fruit and vegetables

Carotenoid Concentration Source

(ßgperg fresh weight)

Lycopene 380-3054

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