A member of a family of pigments (chlorophyll and anthocyanins are the other members) that is responsible for the coloration of fruits and plants. Carotenoids create the yellow to orange hues as well as the red hues in fruits, vegetables, flowers, and leaves that show color changes as they grow or pass through seasons. Within the carotenoid family are various members that provide distinct colors. Lycopene is an example, which is the carotenoid that is responsible for the red colors in apricots, bell peppers, guava, pink grapefruit, rosehips, and watermelon. The word carotenoid is derived from the word carrot, which was the first vegetable to have its molecular structure separated into pigment families containing the orange hues. Carotenoids are typically not altered or affected by cooking.

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