You may have heard the mantra “eat your carrots!” when you were growing up – but how did carrots have become one of America’s favorite health foods? The answer lies in the fact that carrots are an amazing source of beta carotene, which is an antioxidant found in their orange pigment. Your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A during the digestive process. And while carrots do provide these nutrients that are essential for eye health, they provide a wide variety of other health benefits, as well! Carrots contain carotenoids, polyphenols, and other vitamins that have antioxidant properties, as well as anti-carcinogenic and immunity-boosting properties. Check out these top reasons to add more carrots to your diet!
More tips for healthy eyes.
Carrots are full of carotenoids, which have been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce free radicals in the body through their antioxidant power. The scavenging of harmful free radicals is thought to be a key component in the prevention of many different types of cancers. One observational study found that current smokers who did not eat carrots had a three times greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who did eat carrots. Beta-carotene is also thought to have an association with a decreased risk of colon cancer, based on research studies.
One study that examined carrot intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease over a period of 10 years found that foods of certain colors had more protective effects against cardiovascular disease. Which colors were the most beneficial? The research concluded that foods with deeper shades of orange and yellow, such as carrots, had the greatest impact in fighting heart ailment. Specifically, study participants who ate more carrots had an even smaller risk of developing heart disease.
Blood Glucose Control
Carotenoids found in carrots are associated with improved blood glucose numbers and insulin levels in diabetics. Studies have shown that low carotenoid levels are associated with an increase in the level of glucose intolerance, which suggests that carrots and other vegetables rich in carotenoids could be a key factor in managing diabetes.
Source of Fiber
Carrots are a rich source of fiber, with each medium sized carrot (61 grams) containing 1.7 grams. Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and digestive processes like waste removal. When you eat foods that are rich in fiber, you feel full for longer and this could assist with weight loss efforts.
High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential to include in your diet because the body does not produce it on its own. It is is needed for the growth and repair of all tissues in the body. Each individual carrot contains 6% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin.
Great Vitamin K Source
This nutrient is key in clotting your blood, and plays a huge role in bone health. A diet high in vegetables that contain vitamin K can reduce your risk of fractures and developing osteoporosis.
Source of Potassium
Another health benefits of carrots is their high levels of potassium. This important mineral and electrolyte is thought to stabilize blood sugar levels in the body, prevents muscle cramp, and even boost your mood.
“Carrots.” World’s Healthiest Foods. The George Matejan Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2016. <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21>.
Dias, João Carlos Da Silva. “Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts.” FNS Food and Nutrition Sciences 05.22 (2014): 2147-156. Web.
Ware, Megan, RDN, LD. “Carrots: Health Benefits and Precautions.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 10 Sept. 2015. Web. 07 Jan. 2016.