Carrots Nutrition and Good Health
- Part 2
- bodily functions
Nutrition Page 1 deals with pigment power,
the goodness of carrots, what happens if you eat too many and carrot allergy.
PLEASE NOTE: The Carrot Museum does not recommend self diagnosis or self medication. The information contained in this web site has not been verified for correctness. Some of the information contained herein is hearsay and may not be correct. Use the information from this page only at your own risk! If in doubt consult a doctor. Note: If you have diabetes it is recommended you read this before eating carrots. Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Read more here.
Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition.
|The carrot has been called the poor man’s ginseng as it contains more than 490 phytochemicals (plant, or fruit derived chemical compounds). Beta-carotene is one of the most antioxidants in the carrot, and helps the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells in the body. It also prevents DNA variation and fat oxidation, and protects cells against free radicals.
There is some evidence that beta-carotene in combination with selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E might lower high-density lipoprotein 2 (HDL2) cholesterol levels. Glutathione (GSH), another natural antioxidant, may also be important in blood pressure and glucose homeostasis, consistent with the involvement of free radicals in both essential hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Glutathione improves liver detoxification by binding to toxins and neutralising their harmful effects
The carrot contains calcium, potassium, vitamin B and C. Calcium helps prevent the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contracting of the muscular wall of the vessels. Potassium promotes regular heartbeat. Vitamin B improves metabolism. Vitamin C protects cells against free radicals and strengthens blood vessel walls.
Vitamin A in carrot is important in vision; a deficiency in vitamin A will inhibit the reformation of rhodopsin and lead to night blindness. It also improves coughing and high blood pressure. Enough sun exposure everyday helps vitamin A take effect.
Carrots possess strong antiseptic qualities, can be used as a laxative, vermicide (worm expelling agent), poultice and for the treatment of liver conditions. Carrots contain cholesterol-lowering pectin. U.S. Department of Agriculture research suggests two carrots a day may lower cholesterol 10 up to 20 percent.
Ordinary carrot oil is particularly suitable
for dry and chapped skin and helps make the skin noticeably softer, smoother,
firmer, and has been used in Europe for decades in baby oil, lip care, night
creams, vitamin creams, and body lotions. Mix 4 drops of oil into 2 teaspoons
of a carrier oil such as almond or apricot kernel.
more, also a home made recipe face mask.
Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities - 2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer. In fact, a substance called falcarinol that is found in carrots has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to researchers at Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). Kirsten Brandt, head of the research department, explains that isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol.
This substance is a polyacethylen, soluble in water and therefore some
falcarinol is lost during boiling, but not all of it. In further experiments
(read here), it was found
that if they are boiled whole or steamed, the loss is approx. 30% (so there is
still 70% in the carrot), while if they are cut into small pieces before
boiling, the loss is much greater, more like 60% lost (40% retained in the
According to Swedish researchers, eating plenty of carrots can lower your risk for lung cancer. A recent study found that although non-smokers have a lower risk of developing lung cancer than smokers do, non-smokers who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables can decrease that risk even more. Read full article on Falcarinol here.
Non-smokers with a high vegetable intake lower their risk by about 30 percent. Those who eat a lot of non-citrus fruits lower their risk by about 40 percent. But the real wonder vegetable appears to be carrots.
Vitamin A helps normal cell reproduction. When cells do not reproduce (differentiate) Studies have found that eating a lot of carrots is a strong indicator of lower cancer risk. That's probably because carrots are a valuable source of a wide variety of substances in food called carotenoids with exotic names like cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids provide a wealth of health benefits, including protection from the damages of free radicals that have been linked to cancer. As antioxidants, they can help fight cancers of the bladder, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon/rectum and prostate. Beta carotene is an antioxidant vitamin. Antioxidants have been found to lower risks for heart disease and some forms of cancer. Among substances present in carrots are phytochemicals that are thought to reduce the incidence of cancer. These include coumarins, quercetin, kaempferol, and terpenes.
The cancer preventive activity of vitamin E has been suggested by many epidemiologic studies. However, several recent large-scale human trials with α-tocopherol, the most commonly recognized and used form of vitamin E, failed to show a cancer preventive effect. The recently finished follow-up of the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) even showed higher prostate cancer incidence in subjects who took α-tocopherol supplementation. The scientific community is divided and the general public are faced with a question: “Does vitamin E prevent or promote cancer?” As with many academic research you can easily find one to justify your argument, notwithstanding that there are also several which dispute it. Also tests made on animals do not always transfer well onto humans.
The most encouraging news about carrots anti-cancer properties comes from studies into Falcarinol - Read full article on Falcarinol here.
Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say the best thing you can do to lower your risk for lung cancer is to not smoke. Then if you eat your fruits and vegetables, you can lower your risk even more. Because the ingredients of Carrots lower your blood sugars they can be used to good advantage in the prevention of cancer, diabetes, dyspepsia and gout, even heart disease.
The root is prepared in various ways for use on tumours, cancerous ulcers, cancerous wounds, tumors of the testicles, mammary carcinoma and skin ulcers. The juice of the root is applied to carcinomous ulcers of the neck and uterus, cancer of the bowels and stomach cancer. Scraped roots are used to stimulate indolent ulcers.
Cancer-fearers may be reinforced by the knowledge that carrots are relatively high in fibre, retinoid like substances, and the seeds also contain the rather ubiquitous ß-sitosterol. This, alone and in combination with similar plant sterols, reduces blood levels of cholesterol. This appears to be because beta-sitosterol blocks absorption of cholesterol. It has also been effective in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
While information at this time is incomplete as to the relation of the vitamin E complex to human nutrition and body processes, it is believed that further experiments will bring some dramatic developments. In the meantime, it is safe to assume that, as with all of the other vitamins, vitamin E complex plays an important part in building vital health. It is a wise precaution, therefore, to include plenty of carrots in the daily diet.
Because of its rich vitamin and mineral content, and other valuable nutrients, the daily diet should be fortified with the protective and healthful benefits of carrot juice. It can be taken alone, or combined with other fruit (apple) and vegetables juices or even blended with an avocado.
The following bodily functions are aided by Carrots
The body can only change so much beta-carotene into Vitamin A and any excess boosts the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant in its own right. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage to cells, tissues and most importantly to the fat in our bloodstream that can lead to blocked arteries and heart disease.
Studies show that people who eat carotene-rich
foods have lower risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis. In a Swedish
study involving women 50 years and over, those who ate about one-half a carrot's
worth of beta carotene daily had two-thirds lower risk for breast cancer
compared to women who skimped on their carotene intake. Other studies show
that a lycopene-rich diet protects against prostate cancer in men. And research
also shows lutein and zeaxanthin, acting as antioxidants, protect the eyes
from macular degeneration, a leading form of blindness in the elderly. And
still other studies suggest that carotenes cut heart disease risk in both
men and women.
Carrot sticks or a chocolate bar? When it comes to preventing a stroke, you may want to go with the carrot sticks even though they won't satisfy your chocolate craving.
According to a new study published in the October 6 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, squeezing 9 to 10 servings of fruit into your daily diet can reduce the risk of stroke by 31 percent. That finding is based on research conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. They looked at 75,596 women ages 34 to 59 over 14 years and 38,683 men ages 40 to 75 over an eight-year period. All study participants were free of heart disease, cancer and diabetes when the study began.
Each fruit or vegetable serving in addition to consuming 9 to 10 servings daily was associated with an additional 6 percent reduction in risk. The lowest risk for stroke was among those who ate high quantities of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and collard greens. Green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices were also linked to a lower stroke risk.
Can eating carrots really improve your
eyesight? Sorry No! They will help to keep your eyes healthy and not deteriorate
as quickly. When your mother said "Eat your carrots, they'll help your eyes,"
she had a point. Eating carrots does provide benefits to your eyes, experts
Carrot do however help you see in the dark - Well - Yes And No! - When you eat carrots, the beta-carotene is transformed into retinol or vitamin A. Carrots are high in Vitamin A, and a deficiency in this nutrient can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Vitamin A is essential for the formation of the chemical retinal, whose presence in the retina is necessary for vision. Our eyes have two kinds of light sensitive cells: the rods and the cones. The rods are the cells we rely on to see in dim light. They are sensitive to Vitamin A deficiency, because it can cause a shortage of retinal.
The retina is the light-sensing part of the eye that holds the rods and cones, which contain enzymes that absorb light and allow us to see. When light strikes the retinal molecule, it changes its shape. This activates a cascade of chemical reactions that informs the brain that light has entered the eye. When the levels of light sensitive molecules are low, due to Vitamin A deficiency, there will not be enough retinal to detect the light at night. During the day there is enough light to produce vision, despite low levels of retinal. So it's only night vision that can be improved by eating carrots.
The rods provide black and white vision and respond in dim light while the cones provide colour vision and respond to bright light. Vitamin A helps the retina tell black from white and provides for colour vision. It also helps us see in dim light or at night. When you go into a darkened theatre after being out in the bright light, your eyes are able to adapt because of the vitamin A that you have stored in your body.
So really the answer is they do help you see in the dark, but can only improve your night vision if you are deficient in Vitamin A. Here is an experiment which proved it. (Opens in new window).
Watch this video from chemist Chad Jones, Ph.D., American Chemical Society, which helps to explain matters - here
How did the myth come about?
It seems that in World War II, Britain's air ministry spread the word that a diet of carrots (already known to be a good source of Vitamin A, essential for healthy eyesight) helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a propaganda story originating from Britain's Ministry of Food, intended to cover the real reason for the Royal Air Force's successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel. Apparently the motive of Lord Woolton (the Minister for Food) was twofold — it also encouraged folks to eat more vegetables (that could be grown in your own backyard) during ration time, when meat and imports were scarce.
Eye Health - It's possible that even very serious eye conditions might have a connection to carrots and other things you eat, though it remains difficult to truly determine if this kind of association is valid. If proven, it could then be a factor, for example, in the case of macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease and the leading cause of blindness in older people. (the Macula is a part of the retina at the back of the eye)
The pigment in the macula of the eye is composed mostly of two carotenoids similar to vitamin A,lutein and zeaxanthin which are obtained from the diet. Lutein and zeaxanthin play a crucial role in the eye: these two carotenoids accumulate in the retina, where they form the macular pigment, and they are found in the lens.
The macula of the eye contains (lutein and
zeaxanthin) which are obtained from sweetcorn, carrots and other yellow-orange
fruit and vegetables as well as dark green leafy vegetables.
Poor dietary intake of carotenoids is thought to be the main cause of this
condition and those who eat the most carotenoids have at least a 60 per cent
lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye
than those with low intake. For more information, contact the Macular Disease
The Macular Degeneration Foundation also has some very helpful information and free fact sheet downloads - here.
Carrots can also help in fighting
conjunctivitis/blepharitis, Retinopathy and Cataracts.
Read more about the essential qualities of Vitamin
Carrots, especially carrot juice, are a sure-fire ticket to better stomach and gastrointestinal health. The ancient Greeks even knew this-they used carrot juice to cure stomach disorders of all kinds. In fact, the word "carrot" is related to the word karoten, the ancient Greek word for carrots. Carrots improve a variety of digestive problems, such as:
Carrots have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as an effective remedy for aching joints. Just grate a carrot in a bowl, and squeeze some lemon juice on it. Enjoy it raw or steamed. Carrot nurtures the ligaments, bringing relief from pain.
Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/473451-is-vitamin-a-good-for-diabetics/#ixzz1QBnUr3qr
The diet for people with diabetes is a balanced healthy diet, the same kind that is recommended for the rest of the population — low in fat, sugar and salt, with plenty of fruit and vegetables and meals including some starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes, cereals, pasta and rice.
There has been conflicting evidence as the whether people with diabetes should eat carrots and confusing advice about how much sugar there is in carrots and what their true glycemic number is, and therefore some advisors err on the side of caution and do not recommend you eat them.
The current thinking is that carrots are now an "ok" food for diabetics (medium effect on blood sugar levels), so the advice from the World Carrot Museum is that carrots are fine in moderation and you should, as always, consult your health practitioner or dietician should there be any concerns and before contemplating a change in diet.
Avoiding carrots because of their Glycemic Index ranking would be a big mistake, particularly given all the vitamins and minerals they contain and the low Glycemic Load of each serving. As seen elsewhere in this site, carrots are highly nutritious and can provide significant health benefits for several organs of the body.
When you eat a food, your blood sugar level rises. The food that raises blood sugar the highest is pure table sugar. So glycemic index is a ratio of how high that food raises blood sugar in comparison to how high table sugar raises blood sugar levels. Foods whose carbohydrates break down slowly release glucose into the bloodstream slowly, so blood sugar levels do not rise high and therefore these foods have low glycemic index scores. Those that break down quickly cause a high rise in blood sugar and have a high glycemic index.
Most beans, whole grains and non-starchy vegetables have low glycemic index; while sugars, refined grains made from flour, fruits and root vegetables have a high glycemic index.
If you look at tables of glycemic index, you will see things that should bother an intelligent person. A carrot has almost the same glycemic index as sugar does. That is ridiculous. You know that a carrot is far safer for diabetics than table sugar. So scientists developed a new measure to rank foods called glycemic load. It tells you how much sugar is in the food, rather than just how high it raises blood sugar levels. To calculate glycemic load, you multiply the grams of carbohydrate in a serving of food by that food's glycemic index.
Carrots and potatoes both have a high glycemic index, but using the new glycemic load (GL), carrots dropped from high GI of 131 to a GL of 10. Potatoes fall from a GI of 121 to a GL of 45. Air-popped popcorn, with a glycemic index of 79, has a GL of 4.
The advice of the Carrot Museum is like everything in life, take them in moderation.
The bottom line: Disease protection comes from getting the entire family of carotenes by eating a variety of fruit and vegetables. Researchers also theorise that the carotenes may team up with each other, and other compounds in foods, making beta carotene supplements of questionable benefit.
In summary, alpha carotene and beta carotene,
like all nutrients found in vegetables and fruit, have health benefits. Indeed,
the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. government,
states that "The antioxidant nutrients found in plant foods (vitamin C, carotene,
vitamin E, and the mineral selenium) are presently of great interest to
scientists and the public because of their potentially beneficial role in
reducing the risk of cancer and certain other chronic diseases."
Ten reasons why you should eat more vegetables. Click here.
NOTE: The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from your personal physician.
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