Crunchy and naturally sweet, carrot is truly a superfood having a wide array of health benefits. It is a root vegetable belonging to the Apiaceae family. Some other Apiaceae members are cumin, parsley, etc. Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and Southwestern Asia. Carrots vary greatly in color and shape depending upon the cultivar type. While the Oriental carrots are long, featuring a flat top end with tapering, tail-like lower parts, European carrots, are cylindrical with rounded ends. Similarly, although European and Asian cultivars are bright orange and saffron colored respectively, they can also be found in various other colors and shades such as red, yellow, purple, or white.
The water content in carrots can vary from around 86 per cent to 95 per cent, and the edible part comprises around 10 per cent carbohydrates. Carrots contain very little fat and protein.
A 100 g serving of carrots contain 41 calories; 0.9 g protein; 9.6 g carbohydrates; 4.7 g sugar; 2.8 g fiber; and 0.2 g fat. Besides, carrots also contain several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B6.
Carrots are one of the most versatile foods that are consumed by all cultures in different forms and variations, such as raw, steamed, cooked, or even juiced.
There are several health benefits of carrots that can help you live a better life. Some of them are given below:
Boosts eye health: Carrot has been regarded as the best traditional remedy to improve eyesight. Carrots being rich in lutein and lycopene, help maintain good eyesight and night vision. The rich content of vitamin A also helps maintain healthy eyesight. Although carrots would not cure pre-existing vision problems, they can protect against sight issues caused due to vitamin-A deficiency. Carrots also protect against cataract and macular degeneration, as well as night blindness, which keeps eyes from adjusting to the dark.
Beneficial for teeth and gums: Carrot, like many other foods, acts as nature’s toothbrush. One of its major health benefits is that it acts as a natural abrasive that scrubs away plaque and leftover food particles. Consuming carrots at the end of a meal can reduce teeth discoloration and clean the mouth during times when you’re not able to brush your teeth directly after eating. Eating carrots also stimulates the production of saliva that helps prevent plaque from forming.
Prevents cancer: Carrot may also reduce the risk of some of the most common types of cancer such as colon, lung, prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer due to the presence of beta-carotenoids in it. Studies have demonstrated that smokers who do not eat carrots have 3 times the risk of acquiring lung cancer in comparison to those who eat carrots. Carrot juice extract may also help kill leukemia cells and hinder their progression.
Protects against cardiovascular disease: One of the major health benefits of carrot is that its consumption reduces your risk of developing heart disease. A study in the Netherlands showed that people who ate half a cup of carrots daily were significantly less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
Aids weight loss: As carrot is high on both soluble as well as insoluble fibers, it serves as an excellent food for weight loss. Fiber takes longest to digest and thus makes you feel full and curbs the desire of bingeing on other unhealthy foods.
Prevents diabetes: If you are suffering from diabetes, carrot is a healthy option despite its naturally sweet flavor. In fact, you can eat carrots regularly as part of your balanced diet. They help reduce insulin resistance and thus help regulate the blood sugar. Beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant in carrot is associated with lower diabetes risk. In one study, as compared to those with lower levels of beta-carotene, 32 percent lower insulin levels were found in those with higher levels of beta-carotene in their blood.
Improves digestion: The rich content of fiber in carrot ensures proper functioning of your digestive system. Carrots also help increase bile production in the body and boosts digestion of the nutrients which are then absorbed by the body.
Carrot juice is effective against constipation as it helps keep your peristaltic motion regular if consumed on a daily basis. Besides reducing the risk of gastric ulcers, carrot juice also protects you from serious diseases of the stomach and the colon.
Helps regulate blood pressure: Carrot is a rich source of potassium which helps decrease or relax the blood pressure in your arteries and veins and improves blood flow and circulation in the body. This helps reduce stress on the cardiovascular system and, in turn, decreases risk of health problems such as atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attacks.
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