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Everybody loves Bugs Bunny nibbling on a carrot while relaxing and lazing around. True that carrots aren’t the best of foods for bunnies, but they can be your new best friend. The plain simple carrot finds its use in the culinary world in diverse forms. Be it a rustic carrot soup or exotic dishes from molecular gastronomy, carrots are everywhere! Carrots are a powerhouse packed with beta carotene (Vitamin A), biotin, Vitamin K, potassium, Vitamin B6 among other essential vitamins and minerals. Carrots provide multifarious health benefits like controlling diabetes, regulating blood pressure, healing wounds, reducing oxidative stress and treating leukaemia. At CashKaro, we have enlisted a few scientifically backed health benefits that carrot consumption can provide you. This list also includes a nutritional value chart, carrot recipes, risks and precautions, some fun facts and other useful information on this miraculous veggie.
What Is A Carrot?
Carrot is a root vegetable of the umbellifer family called Apiaceae. The carrot that we eat is a taproot. The word carrot comes from the French word carotte and its use was first recorded in the year 1530. The origin of the word is traced to Indo-European word ‘ker’ meaning horn. The vegetable was first grown in Persia from where it spread to the rest of the world. There are more than 20 subspecies of carrots in existence and they come in different sizes and range from shades of purple to white, yellow, red and yellow. Carrots have numerous benefits on the human health some of which are discussed below.
Benefits Of Carrot
1. Has Anticancer Properties
Scientific research has shown that regular consumption of carrots can aid in the prevention of colorectal, lung and breast cancer. An article published by the Centre for Advancement in Cancer Education also mentions that drinking juice extracted from carrots along with dark leafy vegetables can help in the prevention and reoccurrence of cancerous cells and tumours in the body.
2. Can Control Diabetes
Carrots are loaded with many vital antioxidants that help boost the immunity and aid in the prevention of Type II Diabetes, a research article published by the Diabetes UK organisation reveals. The researchers at Stanford University, California have linked beta carotene, a compound found in carrots, which converts to Vitamin K in our system to lower risks of Type II diabetes.
3. Rich In Antioxidants
Carrots have an incredible blend of antioxidants like beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, alpha carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene etc. These antioxidants are beneficial in boosting immunity, sharpening eyesight, regulating blood pressure among other things. National Centre for Biotechnology Information, in a published paper revealed that carrots consumption can increase antioxidants in the body while lowering the lipid peroxidation without affecting triglyceride status and cholesterol levels.
4. Boosts Immunity
A research conducted by the University of Calabar and published by the Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences suggests that alpha carotene and beta carotene can boost the immunity of the body. Beta carotene is a potent phytonutrient that propels the immune system to produce T cells that fight against disease causing agents.
5. Can Treat Leukaemia
The properties of carrots have been mined for ages for medicinal and pharmaceutical uses. Findings have revealed that bioactive chemicals found in carrot juice can be used in the treatment of leukaemia. Polyacetylenes and beta carotene, two chemicals found in carrots can be used in the reduction of lymphoid cells as carrot juice induces apoptosis, a research article published by the NCBI concluded.
6. Helps In Wound Healing
Ethanolic extracts from carrot are an active component in creams used in the treatment of wounds. A research article published by the International Organisation of Scientific Research showed that the chemical constituents of carrots showed increased tensile strength in incision wounds when treated with a formulation of EEDC cream.
7. Anti-inflammatory Properties
The Arthritis Foundation has recognised carrot as one of the superfoods that help in the prevention of arthritis and bone related issues. Beta cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid that helps reduce the risk of contracting rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other bone inflammatory problems. Carrots can also lower chronic and acute inflammation in the body.
8. Regulates Blood Pressure
According to an article published by the International Organisation of Scientific Research (IOSR), carrot consumption can be advantageous for the heart. Chemical compounds found in carrots can efficiently regulate the blood pressure of the body. Studies have recorded a drop in the systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure of the arteries. Carrots hence can be used as an effective drug for blood pressure management in the future.
9. Good For The Skin
Numerous studies have revealed a direct link between nutrition and skin health. In a published article, NCBI suggested that fruits and vegetables (including carrots), that are rich in antioxidants help in getting youthful and supple skin. Antioxidants and flavonoids prevent the skin from oxidative stress, keep the skin healthy and prevent early aging.
10. Aids In Digestion
Carrots are a rich source of dietary fibre. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, Department of Paediatrics, carrots can aid in digestion immensely. Regular consumption of carrots can prevent the problem of chronic constipation as fibre in carrots cause bowel movements thereby lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.
Nutritional Value Of Carrot
The nutritional value of 100 gms of raw carrot
|Dietary Fiber||2.8 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||835 µg|
|Beta carotene||8285 µg|
|Lutein zeaxanthin||256 µg|
|Thiamine B1||0.066 mg|
|Riboflavin B2||0.058 mg|
|Niacin B3||0.983 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid Vitamin B5||0.273 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.138 mg|
|Folate B9||19 µg|
|Vitamin C||5.9 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.66 mg|
|Vitamin K||13.2 µg|
Risks Or Precautions When Consuming Carrots
- Carrot or carrot juice is not an apt food for breastfeeding women because carrots tend to alter the taste of the milk.
- Carrots can trigger allergies or lead to allergic reactions. It can cause rashes on the skin, diarrhoea, wheezing, redness and swelling and in severe cases anaphylactic reactions. The allergen in carrots is the same as allergens in nuts, potato and mustard. Hypersensitive people who have allergies from these foods are advised to keep carrots at bay.
- Carrots have a high sugar content and hence are not an apt food for diabetic people. The sugars in carrots get converted to glucose instantly once in the body and increases the body’s glucose levels over normal.
How To Consume Carrots
Carrots can be munched on as a snack or eaten in salads. It can be pickled, fermented or made into sweet dishes like pudding. Carrot calls for the least number of additives or flavourings to enhance its taste. Here are a few lip smacking and easy to conjure carrot recipes for you. You can now include carrots in your diet plan in a hassle-free way.
Roasted Carrots With Maple And Honey:
Preheat the oven at 180 Celsius for 20 minutes. Peel 500 grams of carrots and chop them diagonally to allow more surface area for baking. Toss the carrots in a bowl along with two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of honey, one tablespoon maple syrup, two tablespoons roasted sesame seeds along with 1 tablespoon thyme leaves and 1 tablespoon chopped chives. Season the carrots with one tablespoon sea salt and half a tablespoon of freshly ground pepper. Bake the carrots in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Carrot Orange Pineapple Juice:
This is one of the easiest juice recipes to follow. All you have to do is peel and roughly chop three medium sized carrots. Core, peel and chop one small sized pineapple and peel one large orange and keep aside. Blend all the fruits and veggies in the blender for a smooth consistency. You can add water if needed. Strain the liquid into a tall serving glass and discard the pulp. The best thing about the juice is you can switch the fruits as per your preference and can add kale or spinach for a healthier option.
Some Fun Facts About Carrots
- Baby carrots are not a new cultivar of the carrot family. They simply are immature carrots that are plucked early for specialty dishes or they are cut carrots that might otherwise have been discarded due to mild blemish or rot. Cut baby carrots was the invention of Mike Yurosek.
- Carrots are a sturdy vegetable that can withstand cold temperatures. Carrot crops can be left in the field for the winter easily. All one needs to do is cover them up with mulch and dig them up when the frost thaws and spring arrives.
- Carrots are powerhouses of beta carotene, a chemical compound that imparts yellowish orange tinge to fruits and vegetables. This compound turns to Vitamin A in our digestive system.
- Carrots belong to the same family as dill, fennel, anise, cilantro, cumin and parsley, all of which are grown for their culinary and medicinal properties.
Everyday thousands of people across the world are turning to greener ways of living and changing lifestyles and food habits for the sake of health benefits. Making a few necessary changes in your dietary plans can take you a long way in terms of health. Incorporating carrots in your daily meals is a small step towards a huge start.