We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for our health. These foods have all kinds of properties and benefits that help our bodies to function properly but, even so, they are not usually popular, especially among the younger ones.
However, this perception of vegetables changes when we talk about carrots; this is undoubtedly one of the most popular vegetable foods thanks to its mild flavor. In this article, we'll talk about what carrots are good for and what their benefits and nutrients are.
Carrots, known under the scientific name of Daucus carota, is a vegetable of the tuber family that is characterized by its elongated shape and orange color, but there are also varieties in other colors such as purple, white, yellow or red.
Carrots are one of the most consumed vegetable foods worldwide due to the ease and speed of their cultivation and their versatility when it comes to including them as an ingredient in many dishes, as well as its many benefits for the body.
The most consumed carrot variety is the one that comes from Europe and southwest Asia and is the typical orange carrot. However, the vast majority of carrot crops are found in China but are exported throughout the world.
Thanks to its crunchy texture and mild, slightly sweet taste, the carrot is one of the most popular vegetables, also among children. Moreover, its delicious flavor and the benefits it has made it an important ingredient in kitchens around the world.
Initially, millennia ago, carrots were cultivated for their aromatic leaves and valuable seeds, not for their roots, which now serve as food. The first traces of carrot seeds date from between 2000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. and were found in parts of Switzerland and southern Germany.
All foods that are rich in nutrients and minerals, such as carrots and other plant-based products, are extremely beneficial to our body.
Carrots are rich in fiber and beta-carotene. Also, this tuber has other nutrients, mainly vitamins A, C, K, B5 (pantothenic acid), B8 (biotin) and B9 (folic acid), potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
Thanks to the high dietary fiber content of carrots, regular consumption favors the maintenance of good digestive health.
In general, the action of fiber significantly reduces the risk of constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders and protects organs such as the colon and stomach.
Carrots are known to be a great source of potassium. This chemical element is known for its vasodilating properties, that is to say, they favor the distension or relaxation of blood vessels, and consequently improve circulatory flow and reduce the wear and tear of the cardiovascular system.
Symptoms of high blood pressure are directly related to diseases such as atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks. That's why preventing these disorders is another of the health benefits of carrots, as we'll see below.
According to studies, consuming a certain amount of raw carrots per day can lower blood cholesterol levels by as much as 11% in the short to medium term.
This is another reason why the benefits of carrots are so beneficial to heart health.
In addition to the nutrients mentioned above, these tubers have antiseptic and antibacterial capabilities that are very effective in stimulating the immune system.
Also, carrots are rich in vitamin C, which stimulates the activity of white blood cells, one of the most important agents of the immune system (i.e., the defenses of our body).
Age-related macular degeneration is a common eye condition in the elderly. Research suggests that beta-carotene in carrots may decrease the risk of macular degeneration.
Also, this carotenoid is a provitamin that is transformed into vitamin A when it enters our body. Considering that the antioxidant effects that this vitamin has in relation to vision, it is not surprising that it is so beneficial in reinforcing this sense.
Just as an increase in vitamin A slows eye aging, a deficiency of vitamin A can lead to impaired vision, especially in low-light environments.
Therefore, since carrots are a great source of vitamin A, they are beneficial in improving vision and preventing certain eye conditions (such as night blindness) from appearing as we get older.
Studies made in people who had had strokes found that those with higher levels of beta-carotene had a higher survival rate than the rest.
It is also hypothesized that eating carrots daily could reduce the risk of stroke (also called "cerebral infarction" and "stroke") considerably.
Due to the carotenoids present in carrots, which inversely affect insulin resistance by reducing blood sugar, this vegetable can favor sugar regulation in people with diabetes and help people lead normal, healthy lives.
The organic compounds in carrots are fantastic natural antioxidants and also improve gum health and promote the production of saliva.
Saliva is an alkaline substance capable of fighting bacteria and pathogens that can cause tooth decay and bad breath, as well as all kinds of diseases and oral ailments.
Zidorn, C., Jöhrer, K. & Ganzera, M. (2005). Polyacetylenes from the Apiaceae vegetables carrot, celery, fennel, parsley, and parsnip and their cytotoxic activities. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 53(7).