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The Healing Power of Carrots

How Eating Carrots Prevent Disease and Heal the Body



What Carrots Heal:


  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • High Cholesterol

  • Macular degeneration

  • Cataracts

  • Night blindness


Carrots are root vegetables native to Afghanistan that were first grown around 900 AD. They have an abundant source of beta-carotene, a compound that is able to function as an antioxidant and it can also be converted by the body into vitamin A. The brighter the color of a carrot, the higher the levels of this important carotenoid.


One cup of cooked carrots has 70 calories, 4 g of fiber, and approximately 18 mg of beta-carotene. This provides you with more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin A — a nutrient necessary for healthy skin, eyes, hair, and bones.


Carrots are usually orange, but they also come in a variety of other colors:  red, purple, yellow, and white.  Did you know that baby carrots are not actually baby carrots?  They are regular-sized carrots, cut by a machine ,to make a uniform appearance.


Health Benefits of Carrots



Carrots can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  A U.S. government study found that people who consumed approximately one cup of carrots a day reduced their blood cholesterol levels roughly by 11% in only three weeks.  This is most likely due to the high soluble-fiber content of carrots, mainly in the form of pectin.


Beta-carotene is linked to lowering the risk of diabetes.  In fact, one study found that people who had the highest levels of beta-carotene had 32% lower insulin levels than those with the lowest levels (suggesting better blood sugar control).


Carrots also have other types of carotenoids:  alpha carotene and bioflavonoids, which have been linked to reducing the risk of cancer, especially lung cancer.  However, certain studies have indicated that beta-carotene supplements might be harmful to smokers.


Carrots protect against two serious eye conditions that cause blindness:  macular degeneration and cataracts.  They also help to treat and prevent night blindness, an inability of the eyes to adjust to darkness or dim lighting.


Health Risk





Eating an excessive amount of carrots can cause a yellowish tint in the skin known as carotenemia. This condition is harmless and will disappear with reduced intake.  If the yellow skin color persists, or if the white portion of the eyes (sclera) are also discolored, you should seek professional care to rule out a liver disorder called jaundice.


In some people, eating too many carrots can cause their mouths to itch.


How to Store Carrots


You can store fresh, whole carrots for up to two weeks in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.  Trim the leafy green tops, if still attached, then store them in a plastic bag with holes in it.





Fun Facts!

Did you know that cooking carrots increases their nutritional value? It actually breaks down the tough cellar walls that encase the beta cata-carotene.


To properly absorb the beta-carotene in carrots, you should add a small amount of fat such as Olive oil or butter.



References


1.  WebMD. (n.d.-a). Carrots: Nutrition, benefits, risks, & preparation. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-carrots


2.  Berkoff, F., & Schwarcz, J. (2018). Carrots. In Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal:  What to Eat to Beat Disease and Live Longer (pp. 68–70). essay, Readers Digest.






















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