Carrots are one of the best known and most widespread vegetables. Everyone knows the typical bright color of the early species – carrots.
It is the color that signals health, because it is a sign of the presence of the important antioxidant beta-carotene, which is significantly present in carrots. What else does a carrot contain? Vitamins B, C, D, E and K, lecithin, fiber, easily digestible glucose, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese and selenium. If you eat carrots regularly, you are doing a good thing for yourself.
Health benefits of Carrots
1. Carrots lower cholesterol
Research has shown that carrot consumption lowers blood cholesterol. The subjects, who regularly ate raw carrots (200 g), had a reduction in values of up to 11 percent. This is very important for heart health, because high cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart disease.
2. Raw carrots for constipation , cooked for diarrhea
Constipation provokes the development of hemorrhoids and can lead to the development of bowel cancer. Carrot cell walls are rigid and insoluble carrot fiber severely reduces the possibility of constipation. On the other hand, well-cooked carrot puree can stop even persistent severe diarrhea and cure intestinal catarrh.
3. Carrots for eyes and immunity
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, which nourishes the retina. It thus contributes to the quality perception of visual perception on the retina. It also helps with night blindness, sometimes referred to as “chicken blindness” – the inability of the eye to adapt to gloom or darkness, even though day vision is sharp. Earlier, scientific research at the Maryland National Eye Institute confirmed that certain foods help protect the eyes. Preventive ones are those that contain a large amount of antioxidants – especially beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zinc. The high content of beta-carotene in carrots also reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which sometimes occurs due to aging of the eye.
The content of the trace element selenium is of great importance for human immunity. Even folk healers once recommended carrot juice to weak, unhealthy children, who often became ill, to non-breastfed children and to convalescents. Strengthening the overall resistance was one of the reasons why they did not allow carrots, although they had no idea about selenium or vitamin C. At that time.
4. Carrots strengthen bones
The carrot contains vitamin K1, which is of great importance not only for proper blood clotting, but also for a healthy metabolism of bones and blood vessel walls. It supports bone mineralsation and prevents osteoporosis. Bone firming was another reason for folk medicine’s sympathy for orange vegetables.
5. Carrots reduce the risk of heart disease
And not only by the already mentioned beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels. Carrots contain the carotenoids alpha and beta carotene as well as lutein. These have a very strong antioxidant effect, which means that they prevent cell damage from free radicals. It protects the body against heart disease and prevents cardiovascular complications.
6. Carrots reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer
Carrots contain pectin, which can bind up to eighty percent of heavy metals from the environment. This protects the body from intoxication with some carcinogens.
As early as 1986, German researchers concluded in one of their studies that carrots reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer. Citrus fruits have the same effect when consumed regularly. In the early 1980s, extensive research was conducted at the University of California, Bethesda, on the effects of beta-carotene on lung cancer. For nineteen years, Dr. Richard Shekelle studied 2,000 men with the disease and finally recommended a carrot diet.
Research suggests that beta-carotene also affects the late stages of the disease. Former smokers should eat carrots regularly. Studies show a beneficial effect of beta-carotene in reducing the incidence of cancer of the larynx, esophagus, prostate, bladder and uterus.
Fiber, which is plentiful in carrots, is a prevention of colon cancer. The subject of research is also bioactive polyacetylene C 17 contained in carrots and its limiting effect on the risk of leukemia. Of course, it is possible to recommend not only regular consumption of carrots or carrot juice, but also other vegetables rich in beta-carotene.
7. Carrots help lose weight
The fiber in carrots helps speed up metabolism and at the same time adds a feeling of satiety. In addition to these benefits, carrots contain proteins and fats and about 6 percent carbohydrates. Ninety percent of it is water. It is therefore very low in calories, in 100 grams of carrots you get only 125 kJ. The caloric value of carrots is said to be negative because the body expends more energy to digest it than it gets from it. Some diets are based on carrots as the main ingredient. They most often offer carrot soup, carrot salad and fresh carrot juice. One day a person should consume about 400 g of carrots, either fresh or cooked, during this diet.
8. Carrots and Alzheimer’s
A team of U.S. researchers led by Dr. Francine Grodstein of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston published the results of their study of the effect of beta-carotene on the risk of memory loss and dementia in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007.
It was the first clinical study to show how to protect memory while a person is healthy. The research was extensive and long-term – it examined more than 6,000 people for eighteen years. Dr. Grodstein emphasized that the use of beta-carotene must be long-lasting to have an effect.
Finally, a few interesting things
Firstly, we remind you that the list of beneficial effects of carrots is not exhaustive. For example, its regular consumption is extraordinary for a healthy, fresh appearance of the skin, which protects it from the effects of sun exposure and signs of aging.
If you want to get so much beneficial beta-carotene from carrots, eat it cooked with a little fat. While you get only about 3-5 percent beta-carotene from raw carrots, it can be up to 60 percent from stewed carrots.
Fat is essential so that the useful substances can dissolve – this applies not only to beta-carotene, but also to vitamin K, for example. However, heat treatment reduces the content of vitamin C.
Also pay attention to which carrots you buy. For example, in the production of the so-called “baby carrot”, which is sold packaged, different chemical baths are used to make the carrots one after the other – for example, a chlorine bath.
Unfortunately, commercially grown carrots also belong to vegetables treated with pesticides, and as the inspection of the State Food and Agricultural Inspectorate in 2013 showed, over half of the carrots grown in this way contain some pesticide residues. If you have the opportunity, buy carrots from a really experienced grower in the market. Choose undamaged, firm, bright orange or red colored carrots. And, of course, scrape and wash the washed carrots thoroughly.
Did you know that there is International Carrot Day? Named International Carrot Day, it has been April 4 since 2003.