Carrot; Types, Nutritional Value, Recipes, Health Benefits









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Carrot is a root vegetable, usually orange in colour, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow cultivarsexist. Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The plant probably originated in Persia and was originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds. The most commonly eaten part of the plant is the taproot, although the stems and leaves are eaten as well. The domestic carrot has been selectively bred for its greatly enlarged, more palatable, less woody-textured taproot.[1]

Carrots scientifically classified as Daucus carota, are one of the most widely used and enjoyed root vegetables in the world, partly because they grow relatively easily. They are very versatile in a number of dishes and cultural cuisines and come in different colors such as orange, purple, white, yellow, and red. The taproot of the carrot is the part of the vegetable most commonly eaten, although the greens are still beneficial in salads and other forms.[2]

Nutritional Value of Carrot

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 173 kJ (41 kcal)
Carbohydrates
9.6 g
Sugars 4.7 g
Dietary fiber 2.8 g
Fat
0.24 g
Protein
0.93 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.

beta-Carotene
lutein zeaxanthin
104%

835 μg

77%

8285 μg

256 μg
Thiamine (B1)
6%

0.066 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
5%

0.058 mg

Niacin (B3)
7%

0.983 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)
5%

0.273 mg

Vitamin B6
11%

0.138 mg

Folate (B9)
5%

19 μg

Vitamin C
7%

5.9 mg

Vitamin E
4%

0.66 mg

Vitamin K
13%

13.2 μg

Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium
3%

33 mg

Iron
2%

0.3 mg

Magnesium
3%

12 mg

Manganese
7%

0.143 mg

Phosphorus
5%

35 mg

Potassium
7%

320 mg

Sodium
5%

69 mg

Zinc
3%

0.24 mg

Other constituents Quantity
Fluoride 3.2 µg
Water 88 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.[3]

Health Benefits of Carrot

  • Source of Vitamin – Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A promotes good vision, and is important for growth, development, and immune function [4].Potasium plays an important role in fat and protein metabolism [5].Carrot consist phylloquinone, vitamin K is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health [67]. Carrot consist potassium an essential mineral, important for blood pressure control. Vitamin B6 – A group of related vitamins that are involved with the conversion of food into energy.
  • Vitamins Carbohydrates – Carrots are mainly composed of water and carbohydrates. The carbs consist of starch and sugars, such as sucrose and glucose [8]. They are also a relatively good source of fiber, with one medium sized carrot (61 grams) providing 2 grams. Carrots often rank low on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar after a meal. The glycemic index of carrots ranges from 16-60, being lowest for raw carrots, a little higher for cooked carrots and highest for pureed carrots [ 9 10]. Eating low-glycemic foods is linked to numerous health benefits [11], and is considered particularly beneficial for diabetics [12].
  • Fiber – Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber in carrots [8]. Soluble fibers can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of sugar and starch. They can also feed the friendly bacteria in the gut, which may lead to improved health and decreased risk of disease [131415]. Certain soluble fibers can also impair the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol [1617]. The main insoluble fibers in carrots are in the form of cellulose, but also hemicellulose and lignin [18]. Insoluble fibers reduce the risk of constipation and promote regular and healthy bowel movements [19].
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Carrots are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A (from beta-carotene), biotin, vitamin K (phylloquinone), potassium and vitamin B6.
  • Reduced Risk of Cancer – Diets rich in carotenes may have a protective effect against several types of cancer. This includes prostate cancer (20), colon cancer (21) and stomach cancer (22).Women with high circulating levels of carotenoids may also be at reduced risk of breast cancer (23). Older research suggested that carotenoids could be protective against developing lung cancer, but newer studies found no protective effect (2425).
  • Weight Loss – Carrots, as parts of meals, can increase satiety and decrease calorie intake in subsequent meals (36). For this reason, carrots may be a useful addition to an effective weight loss diet.
  • Eye Health – Individuals that are low in vitamin A are more likely to experience night blindness, a condition that may improve by eating carrots or other foods rich in vitamin A or carotenoids (27). Carotenoids may also cut the risk of age-related macular degeneration (282930).
  • Prevent Breast & Colon Cancer Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer. Researchers discovered that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams per day reduced lung cancer risk by more than 40 percent. [31] An average carrot contains about three milligrams of beta-carotene. In a separate study, researchers found that eating fiber-rich carrots reduced the risk of colon cancer by as much as 24 percent. [32] Analysis of 8 studies conducted by researcher [33] suggests that women who ate raw carrots were five to eight times less likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not.
  • Regulates Blood Cholesterol – High cholesterol is a major factor causing heart diseases. [34] and regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol levels. Hence it is a good idea to consume a healthy dose of carrots, in order to prevent heart-related problems. Researchers during a study on the therapeutic value of carrots found that cholesterol level drops by an average of 11 percent if seven ounces of raw carrots per day are consumed for three weeks. [35]A group of Swedish scientists discovered that these root vegetables can reduce the chances of having a heart attack. Another study found that those who ate more carrots had a 1/3rd risk of heart attack as compared with  those who ate fewer carrots. [36] High blood cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Intake of carrots has been linked to lower cholesterol levels (3738).
  • Improve Eyesight  Since carrots are rich in vitamin A, a study to determine the antioxidant capacity of seven colored carrots also suggests they are good for improving eyesight and preventing conditions like night blindness from developing as we age. [39]
  • Control Diabetes Carrots are good for blood sugar regulation due to the presence of carotenoids in them. Carotenoids inversely affect insulin resistance and thus lower blood sugar, thereby helping diabetics live a normal, healthy life. They also regulate the amount of insulin and glucose that is being used and metabolized by the body, providing a healthy fluctuation in diabetics. They have antiseptic qualities and can, therefore, be used as laxatives, vermicides, and as a remedy for liver conditions. Carrot oil is good for dry skin because it makes the skin softer, smoother, and firmer.[40].
  • Lower Blood Pressure – Scientific research indicates that the coumarin found in carrots is also linked to reducing hypertension and protecting heart health! [41] They are rich sources of potassium, which is a vasodilator and can relax the tension in your blood vessels and arteries, thereby increasing blood flow and circulation. This mineral also aids in boosting organ function throughout the body and reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure is directly linked to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks, so this is yet another heart-healthy aspect of carrots!
  • Boost Immunity – Carrots contain a number of antiseptic and antibacterial abilities that make them ideal for boosting the immune system. Not only that, they are a rich source of vitamin C, which stimulates the activity of white blood cells and is one of the most important elements in the human immune system. [42]
  • Help in Digestion – Carrots, like most vegetables, have significant amounts of dietary fiber in their roots, and fiber is one of the most important elements in maintaining good digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to stool, which helps it pass smoothly through the digestive tract, and stimulates peristaltic motion and the secretion of gastric juices. Altogether, this reduces the severity of conditions like constipation and protects your colon and stomach from various serious illnesses, including colorectal cancer. Fiber also boosts heart health by helping to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.[43]
  • Reduce Macular Degeneration – This is a common eye disease of the elderly that impairs the function of the macula. Research has found that people who ate the most amount of beta-carotene had a forty percent lower risk of macular degeneration compared with those who consumed the least. [44] Beta-carotene can also split itself via an enzymatic reaction to form pro-vitamin A, which is often associated with antioxidant capacity in relation to vision. [45] [46] Therefore, carrots are an all-around vision booster. [47] 
  • Improve Oral Health – The organic compounds in carrots are good mineral antioxidants and they also stimulate the gums and induce excess saliva. Saliva is an alkaline substance and combats the bacteria and foreign bodies that can often result in cavities, halitosis, and other oral health risks.
  • Reduce the Risk of Stroke – Eating a carrot every day reduces the risk of stroke by 68%. Many studies have strengthened the belief in the “carrot effect” on the brain. Studies conducted on stroke patients revealed that those with the highest levels of beta-carotene had the highest survival rate.[48]
  • Other Plant Compounds – Carrots contain many plant compounds, but the carotenoids are by far the best known. These are substances with powerful antioxidant activity, and have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of many diseases. This includes cardiovascular disease, various degenerative diseases, and certain types of cancer (49). Beta-carotene, the main carotene in carrots, can be converted to vitamin A in the body. However, there is some individual variability in how effective this conversion process is. Eating fat with the carrots can also help you absorb more of the beta-carotene (50).
  • Beta-carotene –  Orange carrots are very high in beta-carotene. The absorption is better (up to 6.5-fold) if the carrots are cooked (515253).
  • Alpha-carotene – An antioxidant that is also partly converted to vitamin A.
  • Lutein – One of the most common antioxidants in carrots, predominantly found in yellow and orange carrots and is important for eye health (54).
  • Lycopene –  A bright red antioxidant found in many red fruits and vegetables, including red and purple carrots. It may decrease the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease (55).
  • Polyacetylenes –  Recent research has identified bioactive compounds in carrots that may help protect against leukemia and cancer cells (565758).
  • Anthocyanins – Powerful antioxidants found in dark-colored carrots.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21864090
  2. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=11124&format=Full
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrot
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814603005314

Carrot

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