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Nutrition Glossary


Updated April 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene.


Definition: A carotenoid found in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially orange, dark green and yellow vegetables.

Beta-carotene, along with fellow carotenoids alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, is a precursor of vitamin A; your body converts it to a form of vitamin A called retinol.

While all three carotenoids can be converted to vitamin A, your body is most efficient converting beta-carotene.

There is some evidence that beta-carotene may also work as an antioxidant to prevent cellular damage from free radicals, and is sold as a dietary supplement.

Back to the Nutrition Glossary

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