Carotenoids are a family of about 600 different plant pigments that function as antioxidants and are found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Carotenoids consist of smaller families of pigments called carotenes and xanthophylls. The carotenes include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene. Xanthophylls include lutein, astaxanthin, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Most carotenoids are yellow, orange and red.
Because carotenoids are lipid-soluble, your body will absorb more if you enjoy foods containing carotenoids with some healthy fat.