Top Health Benefits of Carrots

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Carrots are so incredibly common in America, we overlook them and take them for granted, but carrots have powerful health benefits to offer us.

Even though most of us only think of carrots as a veggie to use in dip or to shred for your salad, carrots have been valued for their medicinal properties since ancient times. Carrots are one of the most widely used veggies in the world. They are typically orange, but there are numerous other colors including white, yellow, purple, and red.

Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which comes from beta-carotene. Your liver converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Carrot seed oil has copper, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Although it might not seem like it, carrots have more sugar than any other veggie on the planet, with the exception of sugar beets. When eaten as part of an overall healthy diet, carrots can give you some serious protection against strokes and heart disease.

The healthiest of diets include lots of raw fruits and veggies, but carrots are an exception to this rule. Research shows that cooking carrots actually increases their levels of phenolic acids, antioxidants, and beta carotene levels. So feel free to add those carrots to soups, stews, or just plain steam them and enjoy!

Just a note about those so-called baby carrots: As cute as they are, there is really no such thing as a “baby” carrot. This came about as a stroke of marketing genius. A farmer in California decided to shave down his broken or imperfect carrots into the tiny versions you find in the supermarket today. There is really no difference between baby carrots and regular carrots, and you could shave down full sized carrots yourself and have the same results. The main objection to baby carrots is that many of them are given a chlorine bath before they are packaged to help keep them fresher, longer. You might want to avoid these for this reason.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Now, keep reading and find out all the reasons you should be eating more carrots every day.

 

1.  Helps Prevent Cancer

Researchers in England found that increasing your beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 mg each day reduced the risk of lung cancer by more than 40 percent! Most average sized carrots have 3 milligrams of beta carotene so it only takes one carrot a day to get cancer protection!

Another study showed that eating a diet high in fiber reduced the risk of colon cancer by 24 percent. More research is currently being done regarding the use of carrots and/or beta carotene in regards to fighting other forms of cancer.

 

2. Diabetes Protection

Carrots are great for the regulation of blood sugar. Carotenoids stop insulin resistance and therefore lower blood sugar levels. Carrots can also regulate the amount of glucose and insulin that is being used by the body, which provides a more health balance for those suffering from diabetes.

 

3. Improved Vision

If your mother ever told you to eat your carrots so you would have good eyesight, well, mom was right! The beta carotene in carrots is converted into vitamin A by your liver, which is then changed in the retina of your eyes to rhodopsin, a pigment that you need to see in low light or darkness. Beta carotene has been shown to protect you from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

 

4. Beautiful Skin

Carrots give you beautiful skin from the inside out. The antioxidants and vitamin A in carrots protect your skin naturally from sun damage. If you have very dry skin, hair, and brittle nails it could be due to a vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A stops acne, dry skin, uneven skin tones, and premature wrinkles.

 

5. Natural Detoxifier

Vitamin A provides liver support in removing toxins and other waste from your body. This important vitamin reduces the amount of fat and bile in the liver, while the fiber in carrots helps to clear out the large intestine and keep waste moving along.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

6. Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Eating carrots regularly will help lower overall cholesterol levels as their soluble fiber binds with the bile acids. Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

7. Lowers Blood Pressure

Carrots are high in potassium, a vasodilator, which relaxes your arteries and blood vessels, which improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. Hypertension is known to cause heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis.

 

8. Improves the Immune System

The antibacterial and antiseptic compound in carrots is perfect for improving the immune system. Carrots are also high in vitamin C, which stimulates white blood cell acitiity and is perhaps one of the most important vitamins to the immune system of human beings.

 

9. Improves Digestion

Like most fruits and vegetables, carrots have large amounts of dietary fiber, and fiber is one of the most important fundamentals for a healthy digestive system. Fiber stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and helps to reduce conditions such as constipation and sluggish digestion. Fiber is also your best protection from colon and stomach cancers.

 

SEE ALSO: Carrots as One of 10 Best Detoxifying Foods You Can Eat

10. Improves Oral Health

Carrots help stimulate the gums and encourage the production of saliva. Saliva is alkaline and helps to fight the acids and bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Eat a carrot after dinner and notice how clean and fresh your mouth feels!

Always buy organic carrots and wash them thoroughly to remove all dirt. You don’t really need to peel carrots, as their outer layer contains many nutritional benefits.

Sources:

Wmnutrition.com

Pubs.acs.org

Pubs.acs.org.doi

Pubs.acs.org.doi