Well, thank goodness you asked. Beta-carotene is an organic pigment that is a precursor to vitamin A, or what we nutrition peeps like to call a "provitamin A carotenoid." Fancy, I know.
When we consume beta-carotene from plants an enzyme in our intestines (called b,b-carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase if you want to get really specific) cleaves it into two molecules of vitamin A! In fact, you can see the beta-carotene in plants and fruit: it's the red-orange pigment that colors carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes (and this muffin).
Provitamin A carotenoids (like beta-carotene) are one of TWO ways we get vitamin A in our diets. The other is through preformed vitamin A (retinol or retinyl ester), which is found in foods from animal sources.
Knowledge bombs everywhere in this post! The takeaway? Eat your red-orange vegetables, and make these muffins!
PUMPKIN CARROT MUFFINS
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup grated carrot (you cando this in a food processor!)
6 oz Greek yogurt
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 scoop protein powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Optional mix-ins: chia seeds (I like to put them on top), nuts, and chocolate chips, of course!
Preheat oven to 350F.
In one bowl, mix pureed pumpkin, grated carrots, Greek yogurt, oil, eggs, honey, and vanilla.
In another bowl, mix pastry flour, oat bran, protein, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Add wet to dry and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips, if desired.
Spoon batter into lined or oiled muffin pan. Bake for 25-27 minutes. Let cool on wire rack and store in airtight container.