The carrot is a vegetable present in almost every home in the world. Known for its attractive orange color and its characteristic sweet taste, carrots are a super healthy food whose benefits have been demonstrated and supported by scientific studies. Today, learn how you can reduce cholesterol or prevent age-related vision loss by simply adding one more food to your diet: carrot.
What is Carrot?
The carrot is a very tasty root vegetable, crispy and full of nutrients. It is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin K, antioxidants and beta-carotene (vitamin A), which makes it a vegetable with multiple healthy benefits. Carrots can be white, red, yellow, purple or orange, the latter being the most common due to its beta-carotene content.
Carrots contain about 85-95% water and a very small amount of fat and protein. Although they are made up of a high percentage of carbohydrates, only a very small portion of them is digestible.
A medium-sized carrot contains:
- Vitamin A: 2 times the RDA (recommended daily amount).
- Vitamin K: 10% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 6% of the RDA.
- Vitamin C: 6% of the RDA.
- Fiber :7 g
- Digestible carbohydrates: 4 g.
What Benefits Do Carrot Components Have?
The beta-carotene present in carrots is transformed into vitamin A in the human body, which is important for development and growth, immune system function and vision.
Essential vitamin for blood coagulation and bone system.
Reduces the risk of heart disease and improves renal function
Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin is a primary antioxidant for the maintenance of bones, muscles and skin.
Carrots contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, substances that can regulate blood glucose and cholesterol, reduce appetite or combat constipation.
Also, carrots are rich in numerous plant components:
“Antioxidant substances that have been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular, degenerative diseases and cancer”.
The main carotene present in carrots is beta carotene.
Yellow pigment with antioxidant activity mainly present in yellow and orange carrots. Important for eye health.
Active carrot compounds that have been shown to help protect against leukemia and cancer cells.
Red pigment with antioxidant activity mainly present in red and purple carrots. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer
5 Carrot Properties:
1. Improves Eye Health:
According to the World Health Organization, vitamin A deficiency is one of the leading causes of childhood blindness in many developing countries. How many times did you hear your mother tell you as a child to eat carrot to see better? As in most cases, the advice of a mother is true. Thanks to the high content of carotenoids that are transformed into vitamin A, the consumption of carrots is a perfect ally to keep your eyes healthy. Protect your retina, reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and prevent cataracts.
2. Protects Against Cancer:
Carrots are rich in carotenes, powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals, thus avoiding and reducing oxidative stress. And, according to various studies, it is this antioxidant activity that acts as a protective mechanism against cancer. There is research that has revealed that the carotenes present in carrots can prevent:
- Prostate cancer
- Colon cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Breast cancer
3. Regulates Blood Glucose:
Carrots have a low glycemic index, which is how quickly food causes spikes in glucose levels after a meal. Specifically, the carrot has a glycemic index that ranges between 16 and 60, staying lower in raw carrots and increasing in cooked carrots and mashed carrots. Foods with low glycemic index provide multiple health benefits and are very suitable for people with diabetes.
4. Lowers Cholesterol Levels:
Apparently, the consumption of carrots can also have a very positive influence on blood cholesterol levels. In a study conducted in rats, a 44% reduction in cholesterol in the liver and a 40% decrease in the level of triglycerides in the liver was observed. Also, daily consumption of carrots reduced cholesterol absorption and increased antioxidant activity. With these notable improvements in the lipid profile, it can be said that regular consumption of carrots helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Promotes Weight Loss:
Thanks to its high fiber content, carrots are a very satiating food. It decreases appetite and, therefore, encourages lower calorie consumption and avoids cravings. Raw, steamed, cooked, roasted or stewed, add it to your dishes and recipes and take advantage of its effects on weight loss.
Types of Carrots:
Today, organic farming uses natural methods of cultivation, which are said to intensify and maximize the properties of vegetables. But is there really a difference between the quality of organic and non-organic crops? In the case of carrots, no. All studies that have carried out compositional analyze of organic and non-organic carrots have not found differences in the quality or quantity of carotenoids and antioxidants. In other words, conventional carrots that have been consumed for centuries are as healthy and nutritious as organic carrots. And … what about baby carrots? Baby carrots or mini-carrots are a type of small carrots that have become very popular in recent years. Don’t confuse baby carrots with conventional carrots that are small in nature or that have been picked before they got bigger. Baby carrots are obtained by mechanically cutting larger carrots into portions of the preferred size, then peeled, cleaned and, occasionally, washed with chlorine before packing. The nutritional differences between conventional carrots and baby carrots are minimal and both should have the same healthy benefits.
Is it a Health Risk?
Generally, carrots are a safe food, but in some cases they can have unwanted effects on some people. For example, excessive consumption of carotenes can cause the skin to turn yellow or orange that does not cause damage. If you are allergic to birch or artemis pollen, it is likely that eating carrots causes an allergic reaction , causing itching or tingling, and even inflammation of the throat. Finally, soil or water pollution can also affect the quality of carrots, which can have high amounts of heavy metals.
The carrot is an ideal snack full of nutrients and low in calories. In salads, stir-fry, side dishes … carrots will help you keep your vision intact, reduce the risk of cancer and even lower cholesterol levels.