Health Benefits of Carrots
Carrot is known to improve eye health. However, it also has a lot of other health benefits which are not widely known.
Carrot is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, and therefore delivers advantages like reducing cholesterol and thereby reducing the risk of heart attack, reducing signs of aging and improving skin health, preventing some types of cancers, detoxifying the body, improving digestion and improving oral health.
Quick Facts about Carrot
- Carrot is one of world’s most widely consumed vegetables, mainly because it grows quite easily and is very versatile so as to be used in a variety of dishes.
- Carrots come in a range colors including orange, pink, red, yellow, white and purple.
- Scientific name of carrot is Daucus carota and it’s native to Southwest Asia and Europe.
- Carrots are believed to be originated around 5,000 years ago, when they were yellow, purple, white and black in color, but not orange. Afghanistan was the first to cultivate them with purple exterior and yellow core, while orange carrots were produced by the Dutch in the Middle Ages.
Carrots have plenty of antibacterial and antiseptic properties that help them boost immune system. Above that, they are also loaded with vitamin C that activates white blood cells and is one of the most important components of human immunity.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Carrots are loaded with potassium, which is a vasodilator (widens blood vessels) and so, can reduce the tension in blood vessels, thus increases blood flow, also improving organ function and lowering the stress on cardiovascular system.
High blood pressure is directly connected to heart attacks, atherosclerosis and strokes. Thus, by reducing blood pressure, carrots lower the risk of these diseases. The ingredient of carrot that reduces blood pressure is coumarin.
Prevents Heart Diseases
Scientists at the Wolfson Gastrointestinal Laboratory, Edinburgh, Scotland, found in a study that upon consumption of 7 ounces of carrots every day for three weeks, cholesterol dropped by an average of 11%.
High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart diseases. As regular consumption of carrots lowers cholesterol levels, heart-related problems can be prevented with it.
Also a group of researchers in Sweden has found that carrots can reduce the chances of heart attack. Another study done at Italy’s Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research revealed that people who ate more carrots reduced the risk of heart attack by 1/3rd as compared to those who consumed fewer carrots.
Everyone knows that deficiency of vitamin A can give rise to problems in seeing in low light conditions. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A and so, are excellent for enhancing eyesight and preventing issues like night blindness that may develop with age.
Lowers Macular Degeneration and Promotes Eye Health
Macular degeneration is an eye disease commonly found in the elderly and deteriorates the function of macula. Studies have found that those who ate maximum quantities of beta-carotene had a 40% lower risk of macular degeneration as against those who at the minimum.
Beta-carotene can divide itself through an enzymatic action to produce pro-vitamin A, which is typically associated to antioxidant properties related to vision. Thus, carrot is excellent for eye-health in a true sense.
Prevention of Cancer
Consumption of beta-carotene, the main component of carrots, has been associated to a lowered risk of many types of cancer, particularly lung cancer. British scientists have found that beta-carotene intake increased from 1.7mg to 2.7mg per day decreased the risk of lung cancer by over 40%. A carrot of an average size consists of around 3mg of beta-carotene.
Another study revealed that eating the fiber-loaded carrots lowered the risk of colon cancer by a significant 24%. Still another study found that women who consumed raw carrots became 5 to 8 times less prone to breast cancer than those who didn’t.
Promotes Digestive Health
Just like most other vegetables, carrots too have a remarkable amount of dietary fiber which is one of the most important factors in promoting and maintaining digestive health. The stool gets volume due to fiber because of which it can pass smoothly through the gut stimulating peristaltic movements as well as secretion of digestive juices. All in all, fiber in carrots is helpful in lessening the severity of issues like constipation and protecting the stomach and intestines from various diseases, including colorectal cancer. Fiber is also helpful in promoting heart health by removing excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels.
Keeps a Check on Diabetes
Because of the carotenoids in them, carrots are excellent for blood glucose regulation. Carotenoids affect insulin resistance inversely and thereby reduce blood sugar, thus help diabetic patients live a healthy life. They even control the levels of glucose and insulin used and metabolized by the body, creating a healthy variation in diabetic patients.
Lowers the Risk of Stroke
The risk of stroke is dramatically reduced by 68% when a person eats one carrot every day. The “carrot effect” on the brain has been strengthened by several studies. Research done on stroke patients found that those having highest amounts of beta-carotene had the greatest survival rate.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Carrots have numerous benefits for skin, such as:
- Because carrots are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, they make skin healthy and glowing. An inexpensive face mask made with grated carrots and honey can make the user’s skin glowing.
- Consuming carrot juice or applying carrot pulp on skin daily can reduce scars and blemishes.
- Vitamin C in carrots helps in the production of collagen, a protein necessary to maintain skin’s elasticity. Collagen prevents wrinkles and stops the process of aging. Vitamin A in carrots is also an antioxidant and combats free radicals and stops of signs of aging such as pigmentation, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
- Beta-carotene in carrots is a skin-friendly compound which is turned into vitamin A inside human body and repairs skin tissues and protects against harsh sunrays. Carotenoids and antioxidants in carrots protect the skin against the sun and heal sunburn. Drinking carrot juice in summer works like a natural sunblock.
- Dry skin is a result of vitamin K deficiency. Since carrots are packed with potassium and so, drinking carrot juice keeps skin hydrated and prevents dry skin.
- Carrot is excellent for prevention and treatment of numerous skin issues including acne, pimples, dermatitis, rashes etc. However, users should keep in mind that consuming too many carrots can also make skin temporarily yellowish-orange.
- Carrots have excellent healing properties. Grated carrots if applied to cuts, wounds and inflammation, healing occurs quickly.
Benefits to Hair
Since carrots contain vital vitamins and minerals, they dramatically improve conditions like hair loss and other hair problems.
Benefits during Pregnancy
Carrots help in proper development of fetus and lower the risk of fetal infections and miscarriages. Also, eating carrots regularly ensures proper production of breast milk and enhancement of its quality.
Enhances Oral Health
Carrots contain several organic compounds that are excellent mineral antioxidants that stimulate gum health and formation of excess saliva. The secretion of saliva, an alkaline substance, is helpful in fighting bacteria and other foreign substances that can usually cause halitosis, cavities and other health problems.
Since carrots are crunchy and not soft, they don’t stick to teeth. On the contrary, they scrape off plaque and food particles from teeth and keep them clean, further preventing cavity-formation.
Benefits during Menstruation and Menopause
Phytoestrogen in carrots is beneficial for relieving menstrual pain and regularizing bleeding in case of excessive bleeding during menstruation. In menopausal women, carrots can eliminate hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.
Promotes Brain Health
With their ability to reduce oxidative stress that can impair nerve signaling capacity, carrots help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory and protect against many other kinds of cognitive decline.
Carrot Nutritional Info
One cup of carrots (128gm) offers:
|- 2.6mg Omega-3 fatty acids
- 147mg Omega-6 fatty acids
- 52.5 kCal
- 0.3g fat
- 1.2g protein
- 12.5g carbohydrate
- 6.1g total sugars
- 3.6g dietary fiber
- 42.2mg calcium (4%)
- 88.3mg sodium (4%)
- 88.3mg potassium (4%)
- 44.8mg phosphorus (4%)
- 0.4mg iron (2%)
- 15.4mg magnesium (4%)
- 0.1mg copper (3%)
- 0.2mg manganese (9%)
- 0.3mg zinc (2%)
|- 428% of DV (Daily Value) of vitamin A (21383IU)
- 6% of DV of thiamine (0.1mg)
- 9% of DV of vitamin B6 (0.2mg)
- 4% of DV of riboflavin (0.1mg)
- 6% of DV of niacin (1.3mg)
- 13% of DV of vitamin C (7.6mg)
- 4% of DV of vitamin E (0.8mg)
- 21% of DV of vitamin K (16.9mcg)
- 6% of DV of folate (24.3mcg)
- 6% of DV of thiamin (0.1mg)
- 3% of DV of pantothenic acid (0.3 mg)
There are obviously a plenty of reasons why should one include carrots in a daily nutrition. Since they can be eaten raw, carrots are combined with other vegetables and fruits for making healthy juices and shakes.