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Carrots – The Crunchy Health Food
You were probably told to “eat your carrots” by your parents and probably will tell your kids the same thing.
It is believed that the carrot was first cultivated in the area now known as Afghanistan thousands of years ago as a small forked purple or yellow root with a bitter flavor, resembling nothing of the carrot we know today. The Dutch growers in the 16th and 17th centuries developed and stabilized the now popular orange carrot which is sweet, crunchy, and aromatic. EHC delves into the possible health benefits of including carrots into your diet.
We have always heard that carrots are “good for the eyes”. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts.
Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound.
The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone. Carrots are used as an inexpensive and very convenient facial mask. Just mix grated carrot with a bit of honey and your face mask is ready.
Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. Regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.
Teeth & Gum Health
Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
Carrot Juice – A Mega Health Drink
Carrot juice is an excellent source of vitamin C. An eight ounce glass of pure carrot juice can provide your body with up to 35% of your daily recommended dosage of vitamin C. Vitamin C has a wide variety of uses throughout our entire body, such as collagen production of the mucous membranes, skin, bones, and teeth.
Carrot juice is an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is very important in helping to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance and fluid level in the cells of your body. It is also necessary in muscle movement, such as contraction, as well as neurotransmission. Carrots juiced with celery or turnips can provide your body with a large intake level of potassium. An eight ounce glass of pure carrot juice will usually provide up to 10% of the daily recommended intake level of potassium. It should be known that individuals who suffer from kidney disease, should avoid taking in large amounts of potassium, as it can be very harmful on the organs.
Pure carrot juice in an eight ounce serving can provide up to 6% percent of your daily recommended intake level of calcium. It is very important to receive a healthy level of calcium in your daily diet. Bones and teeth are dependent on calcium for growth and formation, especially the skeletal structure and development of children.
Carrots are naturally low in salt. To stay healthy and reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure, nutrition experts recommend having no more than 6g of salt a day.
Carrots are packed with fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy and helps balance blood sugar levels. Fiber also helps you to feel fuller for longer so you find it easier to maintain your weight.
Research from Ohio State University in America found that more carotenoids such as beta-carotene were absorbed when a fresh salad consisting of carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach and cherry tomatoes was eaten with full-fat salad dressing compared with fat-free salad dressing.