Swiss chard

such as ocean fish and dairy products. The pink color of salmon, for example, is derived from the xanthophylls, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, which they obtain from eating small crustaceans and krill. Lutein imparts its yellow-orange color to eggs, and milk, butter, and cheese contain retinols and fi-carotene. Carotenoids, such as lutein from marigolds and bixin (red color) from annatto, are also used widely as colorants in processed foods to make them more attractive.

Concentrations of carotenoids in fruit and vegetable sources vary, resulting from differences in conditions under which they are grown (temperature, amount of sunlight, degrees of stress from extremes in climate such as drought, heat, and cold), genotype, and maturity or ripeness. The car-otenoid content in animal sources depends upon amounts contained in animal feeds and seasons of the year, which affect the availability of carotenoid-containing plants eaten by grazing animals.

Human diets and tissues contain six carotenoids in significant amounts (listed in Table 1). Lycopene is typically the carotenoid consumed in greatest amounts in Western diets. Per capita intakes in Europe and North America average from 1.6 to more than 18 mg lycopene per day. More than 85% of the lycopene in North American diets comes from tomato products, which also contain significant amounts of other carotenoids (a- and ^-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin), as well as vitamins C, A, and E, and potassium and folic acid. (Flavonoids are also found in tomato skin; thus, cherry tomatoes contain higher concentrations.) In the US, the annual per capita consumption of tomatoes by 1999 averaged about 17.6 pounds of fresh and 72.8 pounds of processed tomatoes.

Food Allergies

Food Allergies

Peanuts can leave you breathless. Cat dander can lead to itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, coughing and sneezing. And most of us have suffered through those seasonal allergies with horrible pollen counts. Learn more...

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