What Are Carrots?
Carrots (Scientific name: Daucus carota) are root vegetables that are usually orange in color, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow cultivars exist. They belong to the family Apiaceae. Though they are native to Southwestern Asia and Europe. The plant probably originated in Persia and was originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds. The most commonly eaten part of the plant is the taproot, although the greens are sometimes eaten as well. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged, more palatable, less woody-textured taproot.
The plant’s leaves are less consumed. They are extensively cultivated for their palatable and enlarged taproots. Since carrots are rapid-growing plants, most varieties mature within 3 months of planting the seeds. Besides offering a delicious taste, the nutrition and multiple health benefits of carrots is what makes this as an important vegetable to add to the daily diet.
Nutrients In Carrots
Carrots are loaded with a plenty of nutrients. These include α-carotene, β-carotene (both are forms of vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), biotin, potassium, sodium, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, iron, copper, calcium, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, dietary fiber, α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein-zeaxanthin, and crypto-xanthin-β.
13 Best Health Benefits Of Carrots
1. Improves vision
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene ( a natural pigment) which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.
Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat large amounts of beta-carotene had a 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.
Known that deficiency of vitamin A, can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Since carrots are rich in vitamin A, they are good for improving eyesight and preventing conditions like night blindness from developing as we age.
2. Promotes Glowing Skin
One of the best health benefits of carrots is the ability to promote naturally glowing skin. The nutrient vitamin A not only contributes healthy eyesight but also ensures that the skin glows naturally. Lack of vitamin A in the body leads to skin dryness, poor nails and hair.
When the body is fortified with adequate amounts of vitamin A, it prevents psoriasis, sunburns, acne, premature wrinkling, blemishes, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, and dark spots. According to this research, eating natural foods like tomatoes and carrots ensure that there is more golden glow.
Carrot oil is good for dry skin because it makes the skin softer, smoother, and firmer.
3. Slows down aging
The high level of beta-carotene in carrots acts as an antioxidant to cell damage, done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
4. Boosts Immunity
Carrots are well known for their antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making it ideal for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C found in carrot, stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system. This is due to its antioxidant and infection fighting properties.
5. Aids Digestion
Carrots are a good source of dietary fiber, which is one of the most significant elements for sustaining a healthier digestive system. Fiber helps in adding bulkiness to the stools and ensures that they pass smoothly via the digestive tract.
Fiber also encourages proper secretion of gastric juices and takes care of the peristaltic motions. Overall, consuming carrots on a regular basis reduces the risk of constipation and defends the stomach as well as colon from many serious illnesses like colorectal cancer.
Constipated or suffering from indigestion, fiber content in carrots can aid digestion and relieve constipation and indigestion
6. Controls The Blood Sugar Levels
Carrots help alot in regulating the blood sugar levels naturally. This is mainly due to the presence of carotenoids in them. Carotenoids are known to inversely affect the insulin resistance. They also regulate the amount of glucose and insulin that is being metabolized and utilized by the body. Thus, lowering the elevated blood sugar levels and assisting a diabetic patient to live a normal life.
7. Lower Cholesterol Level:
Carrots contain fibers, vitamin C and other antioxidants that help reduce cholesterol level.
8. Prevents Cancer
Carrot is rich in antioxidants, this makes it effective in fighting cancer and other diseases.
A carrot a day is more than enough. According to The American Institute of Cancer Research, beta-carotene in carrots is proven to eliminate the oxidative stress that occurs in the cell membranes; thus, inhibiting the development of cancer cells.
According to British researchers, an increased consumption of beta-carotene, for about 1.7 – 2.7 mg a day can reduce the risk of lung cancer by 40% or even more. An average carrot has about 3 mg of beta-carotene. Also, carrots contain an organic compound named falcarinol, which helps in slowing down the expansion of cancerous lesions.
The antioxidants in carrots wards off: lung cancer, cervical cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and oral cancer.
9. Improves Oral Health
One of the incredible health benefits of carrots is the ability to keep the mouth healthy. It helps in removing plaques. The natural compounds and other antioxidants in them help in inducing excess saliva and stimulating the gums. Saliva, an alkaline substance assists in combating foreign bodies and bacteria; thus, resulting in healthier cavities. Also, it prevents halitosis (bad breath) and other oral problems.
10. Cleanses The Body
Carrots, help in breaking down all the toxins from the liver and release them rapidly into the kidneys and intestines for further elimination. Vitamin A in them helps the liver to flush out all the toxins while reducing fat and bile at the same time. The fiber in carrots cleans the colon and hastens waste movement.
11. Prevents Heart Strokes
Eating a carrot every day lowers the chances of heart strokes by 68%. According to a research done at Harvard University, it was proven that people who consumed more than 6 carrots in a week were less prone to heart strokes than individuals who consumed only 2 to 5 carrots a month. Also, many stroke patients claimed that people with highest beta-carotene levels had the maximum survival rate. So, there are good reasons to munch a few raw carrots.
12. Prevents heart disease
High cholesterol is a major factor causing heart diseases. Since regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol levels due to the reason that soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids, so it is a good idea to consume a healthy dose of carrots, in order to prevent heart-related problems. A group of Swedish scientists discovered that these root vegetables can reduce the chances of having a heart attack. A study conducted at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Italy found that those who ate more carrots had a 1/3rd risk of heart attack as compared with those who ate fewer carrots.
Fiber also boosts heart health by helping to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.
13. Lower Blood Pressure
Carrots have enormous amounts of potassium, high enough to relax the stress and tension you experience.
The potassium in them acts as a vasodilator for the arteries and blood vessels, thereby increasing proper blood flow and boosting the organ functions in the body. It also helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out bad effects of salt which can lead to high blood pressure
The coumarin found in carrot, also has been linked to reducing hypertension and protecting your cardiovascular system.