Saturday, November 30, 2013

Amazing Health Benefits of Carrot



Although carrots are available throughout the year, locally grown carrots are in season in the summer and fall when they are the freshest and most flavorful. Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named after the umbrella-like flower clusters that plants in this family produce. As
such, carrots are related to parsnips, fennel, parsley, anise, caraway, cumin and dill. Carrots can be as small as two inches or as long as three feet, ranging in diameter from one-half of an inch to over two inches. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste, while the greens are fresh tasting and slightly bitter. While we usually associate carrots with the color orange, carrots can actually be found in a host of other colors including white, yellow, red, or purple. In fact, purple, yellow and red carrots were the only color varieties of carrots to be cultivated before the 15th or 16th century.

All of the cooking methods we tried when cooking carrots, our favorite is Healthy Steaming. We think that it provides the greatest flavor and is also a method that allows for concentrated nutrient retention. In fact, participants in a recent research study agreed with us. When study participants were asked to evaluate the flavor and overall acceptability of different carrot cooking methods, they significantly favored the flavor and overall acceptability of steamed carrots to boiled carrots. This preference was even expressed by participants who had always boiled carrots in their previous kitchen practices!

A medium-size carrot has 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. The veggie is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily requirement in just one carrot.  Carrots also are loaded with beta-carotene, a compound that is naturally converted to vitamin A when consumed. The deeper orange the carrot, the more beta-carotene you’re getting.

1.  Improved Vision: Western culture’s  understanding of carrots being “good for the eyes” is one of the few  we got right. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is  transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.

    Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat the most beta-carotene had 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.

2.  Cancer Prevention: Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties.

    Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating mice.

3.  Anti-Aging: The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism.  It help slows down the aging of cells.

4.  Healthy Glowing & Beautiful Skin: Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.

5.  A Powerful Antiseptic: Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed.

6.  Regular consumption of carrots helps in preventing gastric ulcers and digestive disorders.

7.  Prevent Heart Disease: Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.  Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.

    The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.

8.  Cleanse the Body: Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibers present in carrots help clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.

9.  Healthy Teeth and Gums: It’s all in the crunch! Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste.  Carrots stimulate gums and  trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria.  The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.

10. Prevent Stroke: From all the above benefits it is no surprise that in a Harvard University study, people who ate more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less.



Nutritional Values of Fresh and Cooked Carrot      

Calories                        27

Fat                               <1 g

Saturated Fat                0 g

Cholesterol                   0 mg

Carbohydrate                6 g

Protein                          1 g

Dietary Fiber                 2 g

Sodium                         45 mg

Vitamin A                      13,418 IU

Vitamin B6                   <1 mg

Manganese                   <1 mg

Potassium                    183 mg

Carotenoids                  10,138  micr. gm


 Don’t worry about cooking carrots If your kids will only eat mashed carrot, don’t worry – it’s a nutritional bonus! Research shows more betacarotene is absorbed from cooked, purĂ©ed carrots than from raw ones.


















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