What Are Carrots Good For?

What Are Carrots Good For? from Mercola

Extremely versatile to eat and available nearly anywhere in the world, carrots have been around for centuries. Historians believe that carrots were cultivated by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, as they were mentioned by Pliny the Elder and prized by Emperor Tiberius. Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, a term derived from the umbrella-like flower cluster on top of the plants in this family. You’ll find similar fern-like leaves on plants the carrot is related to, such as fennel, parsley, dill, and anise.

Colors of carrots first ranged from black, pink, red, yellow and white before the more common orange hue emerged, reportedly just after the fifth century. In the Middle Ages, references to carrots and parsnips seemed to be interchangeable, in spite of the marked size and color difference.

In today’s kitchens you’ll find carrots in everything, from healthy vegetable soups to salads. They can also be juiced and sliced into sticks for raw snacking. Carrots can be sliced, grated, julienned, sautéed, puréed, and baked as chips – and you’ve only just started! As if the creation of all those dishes wasn’t enough, carrots also have an amazingly long list of health advantages.

Health Benefits of Carrots

When kids ask if it’s true that carrots are good for their eyes, you can answer in the affirmative, because carrots are very high in vitamin A, an essential nutrient for good vision. In fact, carrots are loaded with beta carotene and are subsequently converted into vitamin A in your liver. Because beta-carotenes can’t be manufactured in the body, they must be obtained from your diet.

It’s no coincidence that “carotene” sounds like “carrot.” The word was devised in the early 19th century by a German scientist after he crystallized the carotene compound from carrot roots. Beta-carotene is one of more than 600 carotenoids, which are the pigments that give color to egg yolks, tomatoes, fruits, dark leafy vegetables and some types of seafood.

Known for ultraviolet radiation protection, carrots are also noted for the role they play in heart disease and stroke prevention, as a poultice to prevent infection in cuts and scrapes, for maintaining youthful skin, and for colon cleansing and toxin flushing.

The calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in carrots help build strong bones and a healthy nervous system. Calcium consumption, especially, is essential for healthy heart muscles. Phosphorus is essential for softening skin and strengthening teeth, hair, and bones, while magnesium can be thanked for its role in mental development, digestion of fats, and nutrient absorption. Carrot crunchers also get the benefits of potassium, vitamins C and B6, copper, folic acid, thiamine, and magnesium.

Carrot Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw

Amt. Per
Serving
% Daily
Value*
Calories 41
Calories from Fat 2
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Saturated Fat 0 g 0 %
Trans Fat    
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 69 mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 10 g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3 g 11%
Sugar 5 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A334% Vitamin C 10%
Calcium3% Iron 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Studies Done on Carrots

A 2011 study1 found overwhelming evidence that the bioactive chemicals in carrot juice extracts may play a role in treating certain cancers, including leukemia, due to the beta carotene and polyacetylene antioxidants found in the vegetable. The study found that when myeloid and lymphoid leukemia cell lines were treated, cancer-causing cell growth was inhibited. Carrots also are mentioned specifically in a list of foods responsible for lowering the risk of bladder cancer in a study at San Diego Medical Center.2

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