Carrots are planted widely throughout the world, including Africa, Asia, and Europe. Worldwide speaking, more than 40 million tons of carrots are produced each year, carrots are rich in essential nutrients, in the bellow article we are going to talk about carrots' benefits.
1. What is carrot, and where is planted?
Among all countries, China is considered to be the biggest producer of carrots in the world, since it produces about 45% of the world’s total crop. Uzbekistan and the Russian Federation represent about 9% of the world's total crop, and the United States, about 3.5 %. However, many other countries have a big role in the commercial production of carrots.
The carrot is a root vegetable with great nutritional and economic importance in the world. Thus the country gives great importance to its cultivation and consumption because of its nutritional value as it is a cheap source of vitamins that human needs, especially vitamin A, sugar, and minerals.
Carrots are potato-like plant or tuberous plants, as the part underground or root is used. There are about 20 sorts of carrots all over the world, with different colors; purple, reddish-purple, yellow, and white.
2. Time of planting carrots
Carrots need a low temperature to allow their roots to grow; the high temperature gives bad roots. Thus the best temperature to have a good and balanced color of roots, and a good number of fibers, taste, and value in general, is between 15 and 21 degrees and can go down till 10° or go high till 27°, but the higher or lower temperature; gives a bad quality of roots.
Carrots cultivation starts in mid-August till the end of February, except for some variety of carrots that its cultivation extends to the end of September.
The carrots need a mild climate for a period of 3 to 4 months to grow; in a cold climate, it needs more than four months. The crop will be ready for harvest when the root diameter in shoulders reaches from 2 to 3 centimeters.
3. Nutritional composition of carrots
Every 100 grams of fresh un-cooked carrots contain:
- 88.29-millimeter water
- 41 calories as energy
- 0.93 grams of protein
- 0.24 grams of fats
- 9.58 g carbohydrates.
- 2.8 g nutritional fibers, and most dietary fiber from cellulose, with smaller proportions of hemicellulose, lignin, and starch.
- 4.74 g sugars and free sugars in carrots include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.
- 33 mg of calcium.
- 0.30 mg iron.
- 12 mg magnesium.
- 1235 mg phosphorus.
- 320 mg potassium.
- 69 mg sodium.
- 0.24 mg zinc.
- 5.9 mg of vitamin C.
- 0.066 mg thiamine.
- 0.058 mg riboflavin.
- 0.983 mg niacin.
- 0.138 mg vitamin B6.
- 19 micrograms folate.
- 835 micrograms vitamin A
- 0.66 mg Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).
- 13.2 mg vitamin K.
- 0 mg of cholesterol.
The carrots contain several phenolic compounds which have many health benefits, despite the spreading of these compounds in all the carrot's part, the skin that represents no more than 11% of the carrot's weight contains about 51.1% of these compounds. The phenolic compounds are antioxidants and anti-mutations and cancerous tumors. Besides, the carrots contain about 26.6 ± 1.70 micrograms/gr of phenolic compounds, while the content of purple carrot juice is equal to 772 ± 119 micrograms/liter.
The carrot takes its shining orange color from β-carotene and small amounts of α-carotene, γ carotene, and lutein. β-carotenes & α are metabolized partially to vitamin A. eating a 100 grams of carrots is enough to supply the body of about 120% of daily need of vitamin A, 4.5% of daily needs of vitamin E, 3% of calcium, 4% of magnesium needs, 7% of potassium needs, and 11% of nutritional fibers.
It has been found that the deep orange carrots that are the most containing of beta-carotene compound give more minerals.
4. Benefits of carrots
Different studies show the carrot benefits and its contribution to fighting against diseases, some of carrots benefits are:
4.1. Prevent colon and breast cancer
More than 200 studies applied on humans have shown that carrots are one of the most important foods to fight cancer, and the consumption of beta-carotene help in reducing the risk of different cancers, in particular, lung cancer. Researchers have discovered that the consumption of beta carotene from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams every day reduces the risk of lung cancer of more than 40%.
A medium carrot contains about 3 milligrams of beta carotene, in a distinct study, researchers found that the consumption of carrots rich in fibers reduces the risk of colon cancer of about 24%. And eight other studies proved that women who ate carrots are less susceptible from five to eight times the risk of breast cancer than other women who don't eat carrots.
4.2. Regulate blood cholesterol
High cholesterol is known to be one of the principal factors that lead to heart diseases, and the regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol. Researchers in a study on the medical value of carrots have found that the cholesterol level increases by 11% while consuming 150-200 grams of carrots per day for three weeks.
Another study proved that those who had consumed more carrots had 1/3 heart attack risk compared to those who had eaten small amounts of carrots.
4.3. Improve the vision
Doctor G.Lindeboom, in his research, found that carrots are rich in vitamin A, and a deficiency of vitamin A leads to a low vision in low light and therefore the night blindness. Researches also proved that the carrots contain antioxidants that improve eye health and prevent night blindness.
4.4. Diabetes control
Carrots are good to control blood sugar as it contains carotenoids, the carotenoids affect in reverse the insulin resistance, therefore blood sugar decreases, which help diabetics people to live a normal and healthy life. Carrots regulate the amount of used insulin and glucose.
4.5. Lower high blood pressure
Scientific research shows that the coumarone found in carrots helps to lower the high blood pressure and preserve the heart's health. Carrots are rich in potassium, which helps to extend the cells and reduce anxiety in blood vessels and arteries and therefore increasing the flow and the circulation of blood.
The mineral helps to improve the body's function and reduce the stress of the heart and the blood vessels. High blood pressure is directly related to atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attack; thus, carrots are good for the heart's health.
4.6. Improve the immune system
Carrots have big benefits on the immune system, rich in vitamin C that activates the white blood cells. A healthy immune system may prevent a range of diseases, including cancer.
4.7. Help digestion
Like other vegetables, carrots contain a significant sum of nutritional fibers, which are among the most important elements to preserve the health of the digestive system. Fibers also help the stool to pass easily through the digestive system and thus reduce constipation and protect the colon and the stomach from different diseased, such as the colon and rectal cancer.
4.8. Improve the mouth health
The organic compounds in carrots are good mineral antioxidants, and they stimulate gums and the excess saliva, the saliva is an alkali substance that fights bacteria; that often leads to dental caries and other mouth diseases.
4.9. Reduce stoke
Eating carrots every day will reduce the risk of stroke with 68%, studies applied on patients with stokes, revealed that those with a high level of beta carotene, had the highest survival rate.
4.10. Protect the skin
Carrots contain a high amount of beta carotene, which is an antioxidant that is transformed into vitamin A in the body helping in the reparation of the skin tissue and protect it from sunlight.
5. Tips to prepare carrots
Carrots must be washed and scrubbed off any dirt before eating; you can peel them with a peeler to avoid any pesticide or pollutants.
The carrots are among the vegetables that are less used in cooking, as it can be eaten raw, carrots can be cooked with all kinds of vegetables such as green beans, potatoes, peas in addition to jams and juices.
Although cooking in heat can damage the nutrients in the vegetables, the beta carotene existing in carrots remains stable while cooking, but it's better to avoid excessive cooking. It is recommended to cook carrots on steam to keep its taste and nutrients value.
6. How to choose and stock carrots?
The roots of the carrots should be solid, smooth, relatively straight, and bright in color, and the deeper the orange color is, the beta-carotene is present in the carrots, and it’s better to avoid the cracked, jagged and rubbery carrots.
7. How to conserve carrots?
Carrots are among the strongest and harsh vegetables that last for a long time if stored properly. And to keep the brightness of carrots, reduce the wetness that carrots lose while storing, they must be stored in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge or wrapped in a dry paper towel to preserve its nutrients.
The carrots heads must be cut before storing them in the fridge because it will wilt the carrots. Besides, the carrots should be stored away from apples, pears, fruits, and other vegetables that produce ethylene gas because it may make it bitterer.
8. Side effects of carrots
The consumption of carrots is generally safe when it's taken in regular quantity, but eating more than usual may be harmful, such as;
- Skin yellowing due to beta carotene, which can change the skin color of the face, hands, and feet, and this yellowish color will disappear after stopping eating carrots for three weeks.
- The carrots change breast milk; some babies will refuse breastfeeding because of the taste change of the milk.
- Excessive eating of carrots will cause some troubles of the digestive system, as it causes a distended stomach and some contractions due to the high amount of fibers.
- Excessive eating of carrots will cause dental caries, especially for children.
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Originally published on Live Positively.