Carotene, beta: An antioxidant, a substance that protects cells against oxidation damage which, it is thought, can lead to cancer. Beta carotene is converted, as needed, to vitamin A.
Food sources of beta carotene include vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and other leafy green vegetables; and fruit such as cantaloupes and apricots.
Excessive carotene in the diet can temporarily yellow the skin, a condition called carotenemia, commonly seen in infants fed largely mashed carrots.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016