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 many dishes and cultural cuisines. They are scientifically classified as Daucus carota and categorized as a root vegetable. Carrots come in different colours such as orange, purple, white, yellow, and red.
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.
The type of carrot most commonly eaten around the world is the domesticated variety of the wild species named above and it is native to Europe and Southwestern Asia. Most of carrots are now cultivated in China, but they are exported throughout the world to be included in salads and soups, as well as a stand-alone vegetable for snacks, side dishes, and essential ingredients in many recipes.
Carrots in the wild have a woody core element that is not very palatable, so cultivation has eventually selected that characteristic out and we are left with the form of carrots that we are familiar with today. Both adults and children like them 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, which is a rare exception!
Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta-carotene and fiber content. These root vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants. Furthermore, they are rich in vitamin A, C, K, and B8, as well as pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
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 consumed for three weeks.
High cholesterol is a major factor causing heart diseases. Since regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol levels, it is a good idea to consume a healthy dose of carrots, to prevent heart-related problems. A group of Swedish scientists discovered that these root vegetables can reduce the chances of having a heart attack. A study conducted at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Italy found that those who ate more carrots had a 1/3rd risk of heart attack as compared with those who ate fewer carrots.
They 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 directly linked to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks, so this is yet another heart-healthy aspect of carrots! The coumarin found in them also has been linked to reducing hypertension and protecting your heart health!
Carrots contain many antiseptic and antibacterial abilities that make them ideal for boosting the immune system. Not only that, they 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.
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 pass smoothly through the digestive tract, and 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. Fibre also boosts heart health by helping to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer. British researchers discovered that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams per day reduced lung cancer risk by more than 40 percent. An average carrot contains about three milligrams of beta-carotene.
In a separate study, researchers found that eating fibre-rich carrots reduced the risk of colon cancer by as much as 24 percent. Another study shows that women who ate raw carrots were five to eight times less likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not.
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 percent lower risk of macular degeneration compared with those who consumed the least. Beta-carotene can also split itself via an enzymatic reaction to form pro-vitamin A, which is often associated with antioxidant capacity in relation to vision. Therefore, carrots are an all-around vision booster.
Deficiency of vitamin A can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Since carrots are rich in vitamin A, they are good for improving eyesight and preventing conditions like night blindness from developing as we age.
The organic compounds in carrots are good mineral antioxidants and they 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.
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 the highest levels of beta-carotene had the highest survival rate.
Carrots are good for blood sugar regulation due to the presence of carotenoids in them. Carotenoids 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 healthy fluctuation in diabetics.