Carrots are one of the more abundantly grown and commonly used staple vegetables that can be found on the shelf of pretty much every grocery store on the planet, but how much do we really know about this reliable root? The carrot as we know it today is orange in colour, but back in the 10th century purple and white carrots were domesticated first in Persia (Eastern carrots), and the orange ones (carotene carrots) were cultivated from around the 17th century in the Netherlands. Carrots mainly contain water (88%), sugar (4.7%), dietary fiber (2.8%) and protein (1%) – its sweet taste allowing for use in a wide range of dishes and cuisines. Taste aside, how does this vegetable add value to our daily dishes? Read on to find out in our Top 5 Health Benefits of Carrots!
1. Vision booster
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is one of the most crucial nutrients necessary for protecting eye health and vision. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in our body, and eating a small amount of fat with carrots helps in absorbing its nutrition (consuming carrots and hummus together is a very good example). Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness and even permanent blindness.
2. Helps prevents cancer
Studies have shown carrots to reduce the risk of a wide range of cancers including lung, colon and breast cancer. The minimum recommended daily intake is around ½-1 cup for adults, either raw or cooked.
3. Intestinal health
The content of dietary fiber they possess is also significant, more than half of which is water-repellent pectin, resulting in a beneficial effect on your intestinal functions. Its gel forming effect helps to remove bile acid and toxic substances from your body. Pectin also contributes to reducing your cholesterol levels, which is a major factor in heart disease.
4. Healthy skin
They are also rich in vitamin C, helpful to aiding your body’s collagen production. Collagen is a protein required to maintain the elasticity of the skin, therefore regular consumption of carrots can help you prevent wrinkles as it slows down the aging of your bodily cells. Drinking pure carrot juice on a regular basis is highly effective in the clearing up of blemishes and scars and you can also apply its pulp directly to your skin.
5. Increases immunity
Carrots contain a number of antiseptic and antibacterial qualities that make it ideal for boosting your immune system. In addition, their rich vitamin C content, stimulates the activity of white blood cells. As mentioned above, carrots are a good source of vitamins A and C and other minerals including vitamin K, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.
The familiar, humble carrot is one of the few vegetables that increases in antioxidant value no matter how you cook it; boiled, steamed or microwaved. So the sky’s the limit when it comes to incorporating it into your daily diet. Just remember not to simply walk past it (or take it for granted) next time you see it at the grocery store! So, how do you like yours; in soups, muffins (carrot cake perhaps…yummy!), salads, smoothies or maybe straight juice with a little bit of lemon twist on (or off) the rocks? Comment below or @KeepFitKingdom !