Introduction to the Carrot: the versatile veggie that may reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Popeye the Sailor Man sang, “I’m strong to the finish ‘cause I eat my spinach.” Bugs Bunny hasn’t boasted that much about his favorite food, but it turns out that carrots could be a life saver. At least scientists say carrots reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
They are best known as a source of vitamin A, providing about 210% of the needs for the day, but also contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C and others.
It is the antioxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into Vitamin A during digestion.
Like all healthy foods, carrots are more than the sum of their vitamins. A 10-year Dutch study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, linked deep-orange fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, to a lower risk of heart disease.
Study subjects ate about half a carrot every day to achieve a 32 percent lower heart risk.
The phytonutrients in carrots have attracted attention for their cardiovascular benefits. They are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, and that they keep blood vessels from clumping together, say scientists at Tufts University.
Some studies show the carrot peel is very rich in nutrients. Others show that cutting or chopping carrots after cooking rather than before preserves more nutrients.
Cooking can destroy some of vitamin C in carrots, but it helps make other vitamins more readily absorbed by the body. Steaming or microwaving rather than boiling loses fewer nutrients to water, and roasting brings out their natural sweetness.
Carrots can also assist with fighting certain cancers by boosting the levels of antioxidants in your body. A variety of carotenoids have been shown to have anti-cancer effects due to the antioxidant power in reducing free radicals in the body. Also, Beta-carotene consumption has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.
In addition, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, and helps kill leukemia cells and inhibit their progression. (Carrot Juice Extract)
New studies are popping up all over the world as the intense physical benefits reveal themselves. Time to eat some carrots.