The importance of beta-carotene in a bub's diet - Little Étoile Organic
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The importance of beta-carotene in a bub’s diet

Beta-carotene vs Vitamin A 

Beta-carotene is a pigment found in orange and yellow coloured fruits and vegetablesIt is converted in the body to the active form of vitamin A, an essential fat-soluble vitaminEating beta-carotene allows the body to regulate vitamin A status by only converting the amount that is neededmaking beta-carotene a safe nutrient for your bub to enjoy (1). 

Benefits of betacarotene to baby 

During infancy and early childhood, your little one’s eyes are developing dramatically, and their vision is constantly improving. Vitamin A in the form of retinal makes up a structural component of the cells in the retina, needed for healthy eye development and vision support. Vitamin A from beta-carotene also plays an essential role in regulating the immune system as well as improving the structural integrity of the gut lining for digestive health (2, 3). 

Sources 

Beta-carotene is found in orange coloured foods such as pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, apricotcantaloupe, and mango as well as broccoli, spinach, and kale (4, 5).   

Fact: Did you know that green vegetables also contain beta-carotene, but the green pigment of chlorophyll dominates the colour(5) As the green veggies become older, the chlorophyll reduces and the yellow colour from the beta-carotene becomes visible. This is why your uneaten old green veggies start turning yellow! 

What happens if you eat too much beta-carotene? 

While active vitamin A can be toxic in high doses, beta-carotene has not been associated with toxicityHowever, if there is sustained high intake of beta-carotene, for example, if you eat sweet potato for every meal every day for weeks, the skin can actually turn yellow in colour! While this may seem alarming, the skin will return to normal once you go back to balanced diet. (1, 6) So if your fussy eater will only carrots, don’t freak out if they start to resemble an Oompa Loompa, just cut back on the beta-carotene.  

Nutrients in our pouches 

Safety regulations for baby food manufacturing are to heat pouches to kill off bacteria that may be harmful to your baby. So, what about the nutrients inside? While some nutrients may be affected by heat treating, our pouches remain high in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidantsHow do we know this? Because we batch test our pouches and we can see the nutrients retained after heat treating. Our sweet potato, pumpkin, and corn pouch are so jam-packed with beta-carotene goodness, we recommend sticking to no more than 1 pouch per day.  

References 

  1. Choices N. Vitamin A National Health and Medical Research Council: Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand; 2014 [Available from: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/vitamin-a.]
  2. Lima AAM, Soares AM, Lima NL, Mota RMS, Maciel BLL, Kvalsund MP, et al. Vitamin A supplementation effects on intestinal barrier function, growth, total parasitic, and specific Giardia spp. infections in Brazilian children: a prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50(3):309–15. 
  3. Huang Z, Liu Y, Qi G, Brand D, Zheng SG. Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System. J Clin Med 2018;7(9):258. 
  4. Jalal F, Nesheim M, Agus Z, Sanjur D, Habicht J. Serum retinol concentrations in children are affected by food sources of b-carotene, fat intake, and anthelmintic drug treatment. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1998;68:623-9. 
  5. Zˇnidarc D, Ban D, Šircelj H. Carotenoid and chlorophyll composition of commonly consumed leafy vegetables in Mediterranean countries. Food Chemistry. 2011;129:1164-8. 
  6. IM S. Hypercarotenaemia. BMJ. 1985;290(6462):95-6. 
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