Carrot belongs to the family of apiaceae, scientifically called Daucus carota. Carrots are evenly spread all over the world and remain a very popular vegetable consume by numerous population across the world. Carrots are typically orange in color they also exist in other colors like yellow, red, white and purple.
This orange vegetable as it is popular called in the USA is a nutritional power house. The storage root of the carrot is the most commonly consumed portion of the plant, although the tender young foliage is occasionally used as a stir-fried herb and in salads in China and Japan.
Carrots do not supply a signiﬁcant amount of calories to the human diet, but do supply great deal of other nutrition in the form of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, researchers have also focused on carrots as a source of ﬁber. Carrots are highly reversed as “good for the eye” due to their high content of hydrocarbon carotenoids, a phytochemicals that are precursors to vitamin A.
Carrots Nutritional Values
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one medium carrot 100g, fresh, raw 1 cup servings contains 88% of water, 41 calories (2% RDA), 9.60 g of carbohydrate (7% RDA), 1 g of protein (2% RDA), 16706 IU of vitamin A (557%), 5.9 mg of vitamin C (10%), 13.2 mg of vitamin K (11%RDA), 320mg of potassium (7% RDA), 69 mg of sodium (5% RDA), 33 mg of calcium (3% RDA), 8285 µg B-carotene, 3427 µg ɑ-carotene and 256 µg of lutein-zeaxanthin. Carrot also contains the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin in appreciable quantity when compared to other commonly consumed vegetables.
Health benefits of carrot quick glance.
* Improves your vision
* Immune booster
* Aids your digestion
* Reduce the risk of cancer
* Improves your heart health
* Improves your Skin health
* Improve your Oral health
*Carrot increase your satiety
*Carrots lower the risk of diabetics
Carrots improve your vision
Carrot contains high content of caroteniods a precursor of vitamin A. A study has shown that people who ate more beta-carotene a form of caroteniods found in carrot and other vegetables had a 40% lower risk macular degeneration compared with those ate little.
Macular degeneration disease AMD is a form of vision problem that are mostly common among the elderly. Beta-carotene are converted in to vitamin A in the body, this vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye (cornea). In one study sponsored by the National Eye Institute, people with mild or moderate AMD who took a daily multivitamin that included vitamin A (as beta-carotene),vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and copper had 25% reduced risk of advanced macular degeneration. Adding more of carrot and other vegetables to your diet will help you to improve your eye health.
Carrot boost your immunity
Carrot contains a handful of antioxidant inform carotenoids (beta-carotene), vitamin C, lycopen, lutein, zeaxathin. These nutrients protect the body against the activiries of chronic diseases caused by virus, bacteria and other free radicals that are harmful to our body. It has established that carrots are very rich carrotenoid a phytochemicals that strengthened the immune system against some forms of cancerous cells formation.
Carrots aids your digestion
Carrot contains about 3.5g of your dietary fiber, and fiber is the most important nutrients in healthy digestive system. Fiber increases the immune system in your gut, feeds ‘the good bacteria’ and keeps your digestive lining healthy, it also prevents constipation and the risk of diverculitis.
It absorbs and put out excess fat and toxins in your body. Fiber adds bulk to your stool, which helps it pass through the digestive tract. To maintain a good digestive system it is good to add carrot and vegetables and fruits rich in fiber to our diet.
Carrot helps you reduce the risk of cancer
Another health benefits that carrots brings to you is that it contains antioxidant caroteniod a phytochemicals, vitamin C and dietry fiber , which helps protect your body from certain cancer.
A pooled analysis of 13 studies found carrot intake to have a signiﬁcant inverse relation with renal cell cancer (Lee and others 2009).
Carrot intake was also found to be inversely related to breast cancer incidence among Chinese women (Zhang and others 2009). The Expert Report of the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research (2007) judged that probable evidence for the role of carotenoid-containing foods in cancer prevention is limited to the mouth and pharynx, larynx, and lung. β-Carotene and lycopene containing foods have a probable association for protection from esophageal and prostate cancers, respectively. You need to add more carrot to your diet to enjoy this benefit.
Carrot is good for your cardiovascular health
Carrots are rich in carotenoids and fiber. These two nutrients are largely responsible for the role carrot plays in our cardiovascular health especially fiber. High cholesterol is a major factor of cardiovascular disease CVD. Population-based studies have shown an association between diets high in ﬁber and decreased risk for CVD (Van Horn and others 2008).
High-ﬁber diets are associated with lower LDL cholesterol levels, body-mass index, blood-pressure, and triglyceride levels. Soluble ﬁbers appear to be the most effective in lowering plasma LDL cholesterol levels.
Fibers make up 3%to4% of carrot weight, of which over 50% is soluble ﬁber (Svanberg and others 1997). As carrots are a rich source of both carotenoids and ﬁber, and one of the major vegetables consumed in most part of the world. You can be sure to enrich your cardiovascular health if moderate carrots are added to your diets.
Carrots improves your skin health
Another health benefit of carrot is that it helps to keep your skin healthy. Carrot contains high amount of beta carotene a precursor of vitamin A. It helps in repairing the skin tissues and provides protection against sunburns. (http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-carrots-for-skin-hair-and-health/#gref). Carrots also contain vitamin C that is responsible for collagen production in the body. Collagen is a protein responsible for the maintenance of skin elasticity, it helps to enhance smoothness of your skin and prevent wrinkles.
Carrots improves your oral health
Carrots stimulate gums and induce excess saliva. Saliva is an alkaline substance which fights bacteria and other plagues in the mouth. The minerals in carrots kill the bacteria in the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
Carrot increase your satiety
Carrot contains sufficient amount of fiber, for example a 150g carrots contains about 4.9g of fiber. Dietary ﬁber increases satiety and decreases energy intake (Howarthandothers2001). Fruits and vegetables are a food group that is usually low in fat content and energy density and high in water and dietary ﬁber. Thus, they may contribute signiﬁcantly to hunger control and weight management.
Carrots lower the risk of diabetics
Carrots are sources of beta-carotene a precursor of vitamin A. In a 2013 study published in the journal “Human Genetics” shows that having a high levels of beta-carotene in diets of people having a specific genetic profile have a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetics.
Carrot is low on the glycemic index rating; it cannot cause a spike in the blood sugar level. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and lower blood sugar. They moderate the amount of insulin and glucose that is being used and metabolized by the body (https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/carrots.html). Carrots are by these reasons beneficial to diabetics’ patients, adding them to your dietary plan is a good decision.
How to buy and store carrots
- Select carrots with deeper orange-color, the deeper the orange color the more carotenoids it contain.
- Buy organically certified carrots to avoid exposure to pesticides and heavy metals.
- Avoid buying carrots that are wilted, or have soft spots and dark coloring at the top of the carrot.
- When storing carrot in the refrigerator, ensure you wrap it in plastic bag to enable it maintain it nutrients level.
- Remove the green top before storage to prevent the carrot from wilting.
- Do not store your carrot together with foods like apples, potatoes or pears and other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas because they could alter the taste of your carrot.
Excessive consumption of carrots may lead to the condition called carotoderma (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21). Carotoderma is situation when the skin and the palms develop an orange or yellow cast. This condition occurs when foods high in carotene are consumed in large quantities. However, there is no cause for alarm as the condition could be reversed by consuming what is recommended as the daily intake of carotene rich foods.
How to Enjoy Your Carrots
Ensure you eat your carrots when the nutrients are still intact to have the maximum health benefits that it contains.
Eat carrots when they are raw and fresh
One of the best ways to enjoy the health benefits of carrots is to consume them when they raw and fresh, raw and fresh carrots maintain its fiber contents. Just pick your fresh carrots from your favorite shops and enjoy at home and at work.
Juicing your carrots for maximum enjoyment
Juicing carrots is another way to enjoy your carrots, but ensure that it is done properly, because juiced carrots increase the sugar content and decreased fiber contents of the carrots
Cooking your carrots for your enjoyment
Another great way you can enjoy your carrots is have them half cooked or quick steamed . Some researches have found that cooked carrots may have higher antioxidants activity. (https://draxe.com/carrot-juice/). However ensure that when you are cooking your carrots, makes sure you minimize the heat exposure and stick with minimum time duration so that the essential nutrients are not lost in other to ensure maximum health benefits of eating carrot.