Carrots are highly nutritious orange-colored vegetables. The vegetable contain loads of antioxidants, beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, and potassium. Carrots are crunchy, tasty vegetables with lots of health benefits. Unfortunately, most people underestimate the importance of carrot.
Carrot even have curative strength. Ancient Greeks and Romans used carrot as medicine but not as a vegetable, thanks to its vitamin A benefits. Carrot can be eaten as a vegetable, but cannot be used as a vegetable. The reason is; it takes the form of a fruit, but isn’t a fruit because it is seedless in nature. Carrot is one of the healthiest foods in the world, and it has lots of beneficial compounds.
A LOOK AT THE SIX MAIN PLANT COMPOUNDS FOUND IN CARROTS:
- Lycopene: This compound is a bright red antioxidant. According to a study, the risk of a person developing cancer and heart disease can considerably decrease with the intake of lycopene.
- Beta-carotene: Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, particularly the orange-colored carrots. According to studies, cooked, rather than raw carrots contain more beta carotene. Absorption is better (up to 6.5-fold) if the carrots are cooked.
- Alpha-carotene: This compound is an antioxidant that is partially converted into vitamin A in the body.
- Lutein: This compound is common antioxidants in carrot. Lutein is mainly found in yellow and orange carrots and is important for eye health, according to research.
- Polyacetylenes: Recent research has identified bioactive compounds in carrots that may help protect against leukemia and other cancers. (See study links here and here).
- Anthocyanin: These antioxidants are found in dark-colored carrot.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARROTS
Lowers risk of cancer
Carrots are rich in carotenoids. Diets rich in carotenoids help protect against several types of cancer including stomach cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
Improves eye health
Vitamin A deficiency exposes a person to night blindness, and other eye-related diseases. Carrot is rich in carotenoids and vitamin A, which can cut down the risk of eye disease and help improve eye health. Apart from enhancing the eyesight, carrots help to prevent throat and urinary tract infections. Carrot contains significant amounts of vitamins B2 and C as well as iron, phosphorus, chlorine and calcium.
Helps lower blood cholesterol
One major sign or risk factor of developing heart disease is high blood cholesterol. Carrot consumption has been connected to lower cholesterol levels.
Aids in weight loss
Carrots are low in calorie. So, consuming this nutritious vegetable would help keep you fuller for longer and decrease calorie intake in subsequent meals. People who wish to lose some pounds may benefit from adding carrot to their meal. A medium-size carrot has twenty-one calories.
Enhances hair growth
Carrot is rich in carotenoids, potassium, vitamins A and C, and other antioxidants. These help to improve hair growth and boost growth.
Promote skin health
Carrot contains carotenoids which can help improve complexion and make the skin to glow. Avoid consuming carrots in excess as it can cause your skin to appear orange or yellow, a condition called carotenosis.
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Vitamin A present in carrot can help strengthen your bones by stimulating bone cell metabolism. The beta-carotene in carrot is a strong antioxidant that is linked with bone health.
Promote liver health
According to studies, consuming carrot may help promote liver health by detoxifying the liver. Thanks to the presence of a super molecule called glutathione in carrots. Also, carrots are rich in vitamin A, which can help ward off liver diseases. The presence of beta-carotene in carrot also supports general liver function.
Carrot veggies are also high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, both of which stimulate and support your overall liver function. The vitamin A in carrots also combats liver diseases.
Aid diabetes treatment
You can cut down your risk of type2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet. According to research, vitamin A contained in carrots may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Strengthens teeth and gums
Raw crunchy carrots can help clear plaque from the teeth, leaving you with a fresh breath that lingers for long. Chewing carrots can increase salivation, thereby neutralizing the citric and malic acids usually left behind in your mouth after meals.
HOW TO CONSUME CARROT TO DERIVE ITS FULL BENEFITS
Carrots can be eaten in its raw form, boiled, or juiced. Apart from chewing on carrot in its raw form as, you can equally add it to green salads. Carrots can be grated with dates and raisins and dressing to give a salad an appealing and inviting look.
How about using carrot for a fruit mold? You can achieve this by grating carrots and pineapple mixed with lemon and lime gelatin.
It is recommended to use a vegetable juicer to grate carrots and extract the juice. You can drink the carrot juice in its form or add it with other juices.
As we discussed earlier, cooked carrots contains loads of beta-carotene. However, you have to know how to prepare it to derive its full benefits.
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HOW TO COOK CARROTS
Most people make the mistake of boiling carrots with lot of water and pouring out the water when the carrot is soft. This is a wrong way of cooking it.
The right way for cooking carrot is:
- Instead of scraping the skin off carrot, clean it with a stiff brush
- Wash it thoroughly with clean water to get rid of dirt
- Chop carrot to desired shapes and sizes
- Pour into a pan and add little water, butter, and salt to taste
- Boil for five minutes or until it gets soft
You can serve cooked carrots with chives or finely sliced onions for added flavor. Carrots prepared this way are both tastier and more nutritious. You can also garnish your stew by adding carrots, whether Irish or lamb.
There are other ways to make good culinary use of carrots. They include carrot pie, carrot custard, carrot cake, or carrot soup.
Apart from the orange-colored stalk people consume, carrot greens are also not to be ignored. Carrot greens are rich in vitamin K, and can be used to garnish salads.
Carrots are crunchy, nutritious, delicious, and low in calories. Several studies have linked them to eye and heart health, weight loss, and improved digestion. Carrot comes in several colors, sizes, and shapes, all of which contains vitamins and antioxidants that are all beneficial to our body.
We have shown with scientific evidences that carrots are valuable to fighting diabetes, improving liver and bone health. Carrot also aid in weight loss, boosting hair growth, skin health, and lots of other health-related benefits. Additionally, carrot helps to fight diarrhea, particularly in infants. To use carrot for this purpose, prepare a carrot puree or sieved carrot.
The average recommended consumption of carrot is about one or two carrots on a daily basis. Also, carrot greens contain higher levels of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and protein. They can be a little bitter if eaten raw, instead cook it with a little olive oil and salt to soften the harsh flavor.
Lastly, the carotenoids contained in carrot is converted into vitamin A in the human body