Health and Nutrition Information for Carrots
Carrots are an excellent source for carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the human body. Carrots also provide a whole host of other essential vitamins, B1, B2, C, D and E which are antioxidants that reduce free radicals cell damage and heal and nourish the skin. Carrots are extremely rich in potassium and contain magnesium, vitamin B6, folic acid, thiamine, and cholesterol reducing calcium pectate. Carrots also have small amounts of carbohydrates, essential oils, iron, copper, phosphorus and sulphur1. Packed with all of these vitamins and minerals, carrots are a very healthy food.
Carrots have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. They are thought by some to have healing, sedative, and diuretic (reducing body fluids and bloating) properties. The most nutritional way to eat carrots is by cooking or juicing them as the cellular walls of the carrot are quite tough. Cooking or juicing carrots breaks down the cell walls and, when served alongside some fats, the body is then able to absorb over half the beta-carotene.
Dr. Xiangdong Wang has carried out studies on the use of lightly cooked carrots and has found that beta-carotene is changed by the human body into retinoic acid and is a widely used cancer treatment2. There have also been studies carried out in America by Dr. Luis Cisneros, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station food scientist, which have found that by cutting carrots in the growing stage with a knife causes a form of stress on the composition of the carrot; "In this case, when you stress plants, you actually trigger a genetic response that causes the plant to synthesize chemical compounds. You end up with a carrot that is healthier than the original carrot in a short period of time with a very cheap and easy stressor."3
A natural way to build immunity against colds, flu, germs, and infections is to drink carrot juice on a regular basis. The combination of vitamins A , C and silicon found in carrots also helps promote good eyesight. According to the University of Illinois, vitamin A is vital for eyesight, but unless there was a deficiency in the first place, it will not improve it.4 Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the liver. It is delivered to the retina via the blood stream where it is made into rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is a purple pigment necessary for night-vision. Beta-carotene's antioxidant properties help protect against macular degeneration and the development of senile cataracts.
The chlorine and sulphur contained in carrots is a natural way to stimulate the liver to eliminate toxic waste from the body. The sulphur also promotes cleansing of the digestive system and bloodstream. It is also one of the main composites of insulin.5
Calcium is an essential mineral to keep the heart healthy and strong, while vitamin E is used by muscles in the body. Carrots are one of the most nutritious and healthy vegetables to eat as they are so very rich in vitamins and minerals whether eaten cooked, raw or juiced.
In spite of all the benefits, a person can eat too many carrots or carotene rich foods. There is the likelihood of the development of a condition called "carotoderma". The skin takes on an orange hue from having too much carotene in the blood. Scientists have not fully investigated other physical problems that might be associated with this condition. However, there may be "side effects". The way to cure carotoderma is to simply reduce carrot consumption.6 Also, carrots do contain some sugars, diabetics should check with their doctors before going on a regular regime of carrot consumption.
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- Carrot Power
- Carrot Nutrition
- Cut Carrot
- University of Illinois Extension
- Bolthouse Farms
- WHFoods on Carrots