The defence of our body system entirely relies on the strength of our immune system. Vitamins play a vital role in the strengthening of immune system and are very important in our daily diets.
Most carotenoids contain colourful pigments as seen in most of fruits and vegetables. They are food nutrients that once consumed the body turns them into vitamin A and are powerful anti-oxidants that helps to minimise risks to occurrence of dangerous diseases like cancer and heart diseases.
Vitamin A nutrients offers very good immune response to infections and partly explains reasons why people have varying rates of recovery from infections.
Adequate intake of vitamin A is very important and this is one of the reasons why people who do not involve fruits and vegetables in their daily meals tend to have weakened immune system or can seemingly look seek yet they are not.
Many plants contain good amounts of vitamin A nutrients. For example, oranges are very good examples of caretenoids.
Oranges have high vitamin A activity. Most colourful plants contain carotenoids. The higher the concentration of the color in the fruit, the better you expect carotene concentration.
This is one of the reasons carrots have been taken as essential foods for carotenes.
Green and leafy vegetables also contain good amounts of vitamin A despite the fact that they contain green pigment of chlorophyll.
Tomatoes and watermelon still serve as good anti-oxidants though they contain a red pigment called lycopene. These two plants contain good anti-oxidants than other food nutrients and I recommend them to people diagnosed of liver or colon disease.
The liver is the focal point of detoxification in the body and you need a natural cleanser where as the colon serves as point for high toxin concentration from the digestive system waste materials and digestive flora.
The other carotenoids are also valuable antioxidants. Antioxidants help the body reduce the inflammatory action of free-radical oxygen.
Free radicals are usually unstable and interact with the lipids found in cell walls to cause inflammation and damage. This is common in some diseases like the inflammatory bowel diasese and other common body inflammatory diseases.
Other carotenoids such as alpha and gamma-carotene, cryptoxanthin, beta-zeacarotene offers minimal vitamin A activity. They are also recommended for daily use. They can also lower the risk to development of some cancer diseases.
Lycopene has proved to lower the risk for prostate cancer development. The role of caretenoids in cancer prevention is due to the fact that they offer protective effect in the body system especially for cancer growth.
In case betacarotene is taken before the body cells have undergone any pre-cancerous changes, the antioxidant action of the carotenoids can help reduce the likelihood that any mutation will occur.
This is why carotenoids can prevent free radicals from damaging cells and the DNA inside the cells, both of which can enhance cancerous growth.
A scientific study revealed that some people where less likely to develop lung cancer. Some smokers can survive with good regular diet in fruits and vegetables that contain beta-carotene.
Dr Joseph Kamugisha is an oncologist at Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe