Carotenoids: Actual knowledge on food sources, intakes, stability and bioavailability and their protective role in humans



Carotenoids are one of the major food micronutrients in human diets and the overall objective of this review is to re-examine the role of carotenoids in human nutrition. We have emphasized the attention on the following carotenoids present in food and human tissues: β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, α-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin; we have reported the major food sources and dietary intake of these compounds. We have tried to summarize positive and negative effects of food processing, storage, cooking on carotenoid content and carotenoid bioavailability. In particular, we have evidenced the possibility to improve carotenoids bioavailability in accordance with changes and variations of technology procedures.