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Amazing Health Benefits of Carrots
1. Anti- Cancer properties
The high beta-carotene that gives carrots their beautiful orange color is a powerful antioxidant. This is tied to a reduced risk of cancer. One study in particular performed by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with a high intake of carotenoid antioxidants had a lower risk of lung cancer by 21%.
Some studies have shown that these nutrients specifically targeted certain types of cancer cells like leukemia, colon tumors, and non-tumor cancer cells.
Carrots are one of the richest sources of provitamin A and a high intake of carotenoids linked with a significant decrease in post-menopausal breast cancer.
Research has shown also that smokers who eat carrots more than once a week have a lower risk of lung cancer while a β-carotene-rich diet may also protect against prostate cancer.
The curative effect of carotenoids and anti-oxidant polyphenols, and dietary fibers against bladder cancer and other carcinomas have also been reported
2. Improves Cardiovascular Health
A ten-year study from the Netherlands found that for each 25 gram per day increase in the consumption of deep orange produce had a significant impact on heart disease. They note a 32% lower risk of heart disease by eating carrots in particular.
This is much lower than taking a statin. Which has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from heart disease by 29% which is the relative risk by the way (exaggerated to promote their cause) and not the absolute risk which is only 0.5% AND carrots have no side effects. There are benefits to taking statins so I am not stating they should not be used but carrots have very good benefits and should be consumed regularly as part of a heart-healthy program including clean eating, exercise, and lowering of stress.
Carrots also play an important role in regulating blood pressure due to their potassium levels which help balance sodium levels which takes pressure off the heart.
Retinol is an ingredient found in many anti-aging creams. Beta-carotene is converted in the body to vitamin A. Eat carrots if you want to fight those pesky wrinkles.
Also, Vitamin C is needed for collagen production to provide firmness and elasticity. It also helps alleviate skin problems like rashes, irritation, or psoriasis.
4. Immune System Enhancer
The immunomodulatory(ability to suppress or stimulate the immune system depending on what is needed) effect was significantly increased in lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, and platelet concentration. This beneficial effect was due to carrot’s α- and β-carotenoids.
Also noted is the Vitamin C in the carrots that is needed for the absorption of non-heme iron. (Heme iron is found in animal products like beef, poultry, fish/seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.)
5. Improves Blood Sugar
Carrots actually have a low glycemic index due to all the fiber. Especially raw carrots.
Recent research demonstrates a significant association between vitamin A-rich carotenoids and diabetes. They found that higher blood glucose levels, as
well as higher fasting levels of insulin, were observed in study participants that had a lower level of carotenoids. Carotenoid levels also decreased as the severity of glucose intolerance increased. These findings suggest that carrots and vitamin A-rich carotenoids might help diabetics to manage their condition. Carotenoid levels are increased considerably with cooking and adding a little fat. How many doctors prescribe increased carrots to newly diagnosed diabetics? None that I have worked with.
There is also a strong relationship between dietary fiber intake and lower risk of type 2 diabetes
6. Improves Vision
A deficiency in vitamin A can cause the eye’s photoreceptors to deteriorate, which leads to vision problems. β-carotene (the carotenoid with the most provitamin A activity) in carrots helps to protect vision, especially night vision and also provides protection against macular degeneration and development of senile cataract, the leading cause of blindness in aged people. Eating carrots rich in β-carotene may help restore vision.
There are also a couple of bonus antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) that enhance eye health as well by protecting the retina and the lens.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Opthalmology women who ate more than two servings of carrots per week had a 64% lower risk of developing glaucoma, compared to women who ate less than one serving. Wow! 64%? that is amazing!
7. Gut/Digestive Health
⅓ cup of cooked carrots contains 2 g of fiber. That is more than a tenth of the amount recommended daily for adults. This high fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy and balances blood sugar levels.
9. Promotes Weight Loss
For the same reason that carrots help regulate the intestines, they also promote weight loss. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and have a low glycemic index. All that fiber also helps provide a feeling of fullness.
10. Promotes Oral Health
Eating carrots increased saliva production which is needed to keep your mouth wet and to rinse away bacteria and food debris left in your mouth after consuming meals which leads to plaque. What’s more, carrots have vitamin A, which strengthens mucous membranes and keeps the mouth from drying out,
Great idea to eat cooked carrots after you have any type of dental/ surgical procedure.
Molybdebenum is a trace mineral rarely found in many vegetables but is found in carrots. It aids in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and is important for the absorption of iron. It also contains a good amount of magnesium and manganese.
Nutritional Value of Carrots
Carrots (Daucus carota), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition value per 100 g. Total-ORAC value 666 umol TE/100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Total Fat||0.24 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.8 g||7%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.273 mg||5.5%|
|Vitamin A||16706 IU||557%|
|Vitamin C||5.9 mg||10%|
|Vitamin K||13.2 µg||11%|
Tips, Tricks, and Taboos When Preparing Carrots
- Eating carrots raw will maintain the vitamin C content as high heat destroys vitamin C
- Cooking carrots will increase the absorbability of the beta-carotene.
- Eat both cooked and raw carrots to get the benefits provided by both processes.
- To assimilate even more of the beta-carotene include a little fat like drizzling with olive oil or butter. This can triple the body’s ability to absorb it.
- Don’t leave carrots out too long at room temperature(no more than 2 hours) as this can cause bacteria to grow.