The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton,” whose first three letters (kar) are used to designate anything with a horn-like shape. (That horn-like shape, of course, refers to the taproot of the carrot that is the plant part we’re most accustomed to consuming in the World.). The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself.
Carrots are perhaps best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene. However, these delicious root vegetables are the source not only of beta-carotene, but also of a wide variety of antioxidants and other health-supporting nutrients. The areas of antioxidant benefits, cardiovascular benefits, and anti-cancer benefits are the best-researched areas of health research with respect to dietary intake of carrots.
The health benefits of carrots according to health researchers include:
One study found that current smokers who did not consume carrots had three times the risk of developing lung cancer compared with those who ate carrots more than once a week.
Beta-carotene consumption has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer .
Carrot juice extract was shown to kill leukemia cancer cells and inhibit their progression in a 2011 survey. Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.
Vision : According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, vitamin A deficiency causes the outer segments of the eye’s photoreceptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene will restore vision.
Studies have shown that it is unlikely that most people will experience any significant positive changes in their vision from eating carrots unless they have an existing vitamin A deficiency, which is common in developing countries.
So where did all the hype surrounding carrots and vision come from? During World War II, the British Royal Air Force started an advertising campaign claiming that the secret to their fighter pilots clear, sharp vision was carrots. Realistically, the fighter pilot’s accuracy was due to a new radar system the British wanted to keep secret from the Germans, but the rumour spread and remains popular today.
The health benefits of carrots include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attack, and reducing the signs of premature aging. Furthermore, carrots have the ability to increase the health of your skin, boost the immune system, improve digestion, increase cardiovascular health, detoxify the body, and boost oral health in a variety of ways. They also provide a well-rounded influx of vitamins and minerals.
Carrots are one of the most widely used and enjoyed vegetables in the world, partly because they grow relatively easily, and are very versatile in a number of dishes and cultural cuisines. Carrots are scientifically classified as Daucus carota, and it is categorized as a root vegetable. It is typically orange in color, but purple, white, yellow, and red carrots are out there, just not as common. The taproot of the carrot is the part of the vegetable most commonly eaten, although the greens are still beneficial in salads and other forms.
Carrots in the wild have a woody core element that is not very palatable, so cultivation has eventually selected that characteristic out so we are left with the form of carrots that we are familiar with today. Both adults and children like carrots because of their crunchy texture and sweet taste, so this is one of the valuable vegetables for parents, as children seem to enjoy eating them, a rare exception!
The many medicinal and health benefits of carrots, along with its delicious taste, are what makes this such an important vegetable in cultural cuisines across the globe, so let’s first understand what exactly is it about carrots that make them so beneficial!
Other benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. This root vegetable is also a good source of antioxidant agents. Furthermore, carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, foliate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Carrots contain just 44 calories per 100gm.
Prevention of Heart Disease: In a study meant to reveal the therapeutic value of carrots, researchers at the Wolfson Gastrointestinal Laboratory in Edinburgh, Scotland revealed that cholesterol level drops by an average of 11 percent if seven ounces of raw carrots per day are taken for three weeks.
High cholesterol is a major factor for heart disease. Since regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol levels, 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..
Blood Pressure: Next time you start getting riled up about something and your blood begins to boil, eat a carrot! Carrots are rich sources of potassium, which is a vasodilator and can relax the tension in your blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing blood flow and circulation, boosting organ function throughout the body and reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure is also directly linked to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks, so this is yet another heart-healthy aspect of carrots! The Coumadin found in carrots also has been linked to reducing hypertension and protecting your heart health!
Immune Booster: Carrots contain a number of antiseptic and antibacterial abilities that make it ideal for boosting the immune system. Not only that, carrots are a rich source of vitamin C, which stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system.
Digestion: Carrots, like most vegetables, have significant amounts of dietary fiber in those orange roots, and fiber is one of the most important elements in maintaining good digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to stool, which helps it to pass smoothly through the digestive tract, and it also stimulates peristaltic motion and the secretion of gastric juices. Altogether, this reduces the severity of conditions like constipation and protects your colon and stomach from various serious illnesses, including colorectal cancer. Fiber also boosts heart health by helping to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
Macular Degeneration: This is a common eye disease of the elderly that impairs the function of the macula. Research has found that people who ate the most amount of beta-carotene had a forty per cent lower risk of macular degeneration compared with those who consumed the least. Beta-carotene can also split itself via an enzymatic reaction to form provitamin A, which is often associated with antioxidant capacity in relation to vision. Therefore, carrots are an all-around vision booster.
Oral Health: The organic compounds in carrots all by themselves are good for mineral antioxidants, but carrots also stimulate the gums and induce excess saliva. Saliva is an alkaline substance and combats the bacteria and foreign bodies that can often result in cavities, halitosis, and other oral health risks.
Stroke: Eating a carrot every day reduces the risk of stroke by 68%. Many studies have strengthened the belief in the “carrot effect” on the brain. Studies conducted on stroke patients revealed that those with highest levels of beta-carotene had the highest survival rate.
Diabetes: Carrots are good for blood sugar regulation due to the presence of carotenoids in this delicious vegetable. Carotids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar, thereby helping diabetic patients live a normal, healthy life. They also regulate the amount of insulin and glucose that is being used and metabolized by the body, providing a more even and healthy fluctuation for diabetic patients.
Carrots have antiseptic qualities and can, therefore, be used as laxatives, vermicides and as a remedy for liver conditions. Carrot oil is good for dry skin because it makes the skin softer, smoother and firmer. Furthermore, carrot juice improves stomach and gastrointestinal health.
Thus, carrots, as raw fruits, juice or in cooked form, are always a good choice for your health!