What are the health benefits of carrots?

 “Eat your carrots, they are good for you”, “Carrots will help you see in the dark” and a lot of other phrases that parents have told their children through many generations.

The Shape and color of carrots when the first cultivated thousands of years ago, was different from their shape and color now. Carrots were first farmed at the old Afghanistan. They were small, forked purple or yellow root with a bitter, woody flavor.

Carrots now are sweet, crunchy, aromatic and orange. Before that, they were purple, red, yellow and white. This new shape and color were cultivated in the 16th and 17th centuries by Dutch growers.

The following article gives you some health benefits, tips for eating carrots and any other information you need to know.

Credit : Pixabay.com

Fast facts on carrots

·     Carrots originates from Asia, and their color was not orange.

·     Carrots can decrease the risk of cancer because they contain antioxidants.

·     Definitely what parents said that carrots help you see in the dark, is not true. But they have vitamin A, which helps prevent vision loss.

·     Carrots have an advantage that they are obtainable all year, and can be added to savory dishes, cakes, and juices.

Benefits

Carrots are very rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Studies advise increasing eating fruits and vegetables that are rich with antioxidants like a carrot.

These antioxidants have a great role in protecting the body from cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

In the following lines, some benefits of carrots.

Cancer

Due to the antioxidants power found in carotenoids, they have anti-cancer effects. This antioxidant power decreases the free radicals in the body that may cause cancer.

Some studies show that diets with carotenoids may cause a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, but more studies are needed to prove that.

Lung Cancer

In the past, It was believed that the beta-carotene found in carrots can decrease the risk of lung cancer.

In 2008, A meta-analysis proved that making a variety of carotenoids in the diet decreases the risk of lung cancer by 21 %.

The same studies have been done on individual carotenoids, like beta-carotene, and the results were not the same. Beta-carotene supplementation may elevate the chance of lung cancer between smokers.

Colorectal Cancer

Another study on 893 people was made in Japan. This study suggests that eating more beta-carotene may decrease the chance of colon cancer.

Leukemia

Another brilliant study in 2011, suggest that carrot juice extract may kill leukemia cells and reduce their growth.

Vision

The same question again, can carrots assist you to see in the dark? In a way, Yes.

Xerophthalmia is a dangerous disease that harms the normal vision and results in weakness to see in low light or darkness or in night blindness. The main cause of that is vitamin A deficiency, which is highly found in carrots.

One of the main causes of blindness in children is the deficiency of vitamin A, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

And so, you must increase the amount of vitamin A in your body by increasing the intake of carrots. And this is how carrots can help you to see in the dark. In the United States (U.S), the deficiency of vitamin A is very limited.

As a conclusion, we can say that normal people will not observe any positive changes in their vision after eating carrots, but people with vitamin A deficiency will experience this change.

Diabetes control

Carrots can assist in controlling blood sugar through antioxidants and phytochemicals that found in it.

Besides that the amount of carbohydrate in carrots is very small, about a quarter of this carbs in carrots is sugar.

The effect of carrot on blood sugar is very small, and that is according to Harvard Health. They say that the glycemic index (GI) of carrots is 39.

Blood pressure

A half-cup containing divided carrots will have 1.8 grams (g) of fiber and 205 milligrams (mg) of potassium.

The need for fiber in men and women before the age of 50 years is 38 g and 25 g per day for each of them respectively. And after that age, the need will be 30 g a day for men and 21 g for women a day.

According to health constitutions, the daily intake of sodium can not exceed 2,300 mg. And the daily intake for potassium is 4,700 mg.

Carrots present a great balance between fiber, sodium, and potassium. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating a diet that is rich in fiber and potassium and low in sodium will help in protecting your body from high blood pressure and heart disease.

Immune function

Carrots have a good amount of vitamin C. This is a powerful antioxidant that increases the immune system and helps the body in preventing diseases. If you have a cold, taking vitamin C will reduce the duration of illness and reduce its severity.

Nutrition

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of divided carrots, that have 128 grams (g) of carrot, will give:

  • 52 calories
  • 12.26 grams (g) of carbohydrate
  • 3 g of sugars
  • 1.19 g of protein
  • 0.31 g of fat
  • 3.6 g of fiber
  • 1069 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A
  • 7.6 vitamin C
  • 42 mg of calcium
  • 0.38 mg of iron
  • 15 mg of magnesium
  • 45 mg of phosphorus
  • 410 mg of potassium
  • 88 mg of sodium
  • 0.31 mg of zinc
  • 24 mcg of folate
  • 16.9 mcg of vitamin K

The 1069 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A that one cup of divided carrots gives, will provide the body with more than 100 % of its recommended daily allowance (RDA) need from this vitamin in males or females.

Carrots also have many types of vitamin B.

Antioxidants and the color of carrots

The bright orange color of carrots is originated from the antioxidant beta-carotene. After absorption of this antioxidant, it is converted to vitamin A.

Carrots also exist in other colors. These colors originate from other antioxidants in them. For example, purple carrots contain anthocyanin, and red carrots are rich in lycopene.