When thinking about vegetables, what vegetable usually comes to mind? You probably have thought of carrots. Carrot is one of the most iconic vegetables you can find. Unlike other vegetables, it’s not green nor brown, but bright orange. I am sure that everyone, at some point, everyone has seen carrots.
Carrot is a root vegetable belonging to the umbellifer family. So it’s related to parsnip celery, cumin, and parsley.
A lot of people think that carrot is one of the ultimate vegetables you can find. Plus, generations of families have frequently nagged their children that eating carrots is good for the eyes. Even British propaganda in WW2 stated that their pilots are better at fighting because they always eat carrots. However, is there truth to these claims? How healthy is a carrot really?
Carrots Fun Fact
Carrots continue to be cultivated and have been for thousands of years already. The first case of people cultivating carrots was in Afghanistan, and it, later on, was spread all over the world. Starting from the Iranian Peninsula, down to North Africa, and up towards Spain, and later spread all across Europe.
However, during this time, the carrot’s iconic color did not exist yet. Early records of Greek and Roman writing shows that carrots were white. On the plains of Afghanistan, the carrots were purple and yellow. There may be orange carrots, but it wasn’t until 600 years ago that we first saw records of orange carrots.
Today, we find carrots in different colors and shapes. They came in either white, yellow, red, orange, and purple. So, since they have different colors, do they taste different? The answer is, yes, they do taste different from each other. However, they taste only slightly different from each other.
Another fun fact about carrots is that their leaves are also edible. There was even a time where carrots are grown for their leaves and seeds rather than the roots. But, at some point, we instead chose the roots over the leaves and seeds. So if you want to make the most out of carrots, consider eating its leaves.
Carrots Color Nutrients
What gives the different colors within a carrot is its pigment and nutrients. Orange-colored carrots derived their color from beta carotene, and the yellow ones contain xanthophylls, and the purple contains anthocyanins, and finally, the red ones contain lycopene. For the white variety, it simply lacks pigment.
Carrots Taste And Texture
Describing the carrot is complex, but in simple terms, the carrot is earthy and bitter. They aren’t the most delicious things around, but what makes up for it is their nutrition.
I can understand how unappealing vegetables can be. But, this isn’t the end. There are actually some carrots that give a mild sweet taste but still offer the same nutrition. I am talking about baby carrots. So if you want a carrot that will appeal to your tongue, eat some baby carrots instead.
Baby Carrot Health Benefits
When talking about baby carrots, I am not referring to the junk food baby carrots. Instead, I am talking about carrots that are before growing to full maturity. The baby carrots look similar to full-grown carrots, but they are 3-4 inches in size.
So if you have children that just refuse to eat carrots, baby carrots might look appealing to them. If this doesn’t convince you, consider the health benefits of carrots.
Good For The Eyes
The most recognizable reason as to why you should eat carrots, but is this true? Partly, yes.
Carrots contain a lot of Vitamin A. If vitamin A is deficient, it may result in an illness known as xerophthalmia. Xerophthalmia is a progressive eye disease, and if left unchecked, your vision in the dark will worsen.
According to the National Institute of Health, insufficient vitamin A in children can cause blindness. Although the cases are rare and will only develop due to genetics, it is better to be safe than sorry. So partly, it does prevent eye diseases.
Many people claim that carrots improve the eyes, but this isn’t the case. Rather, it is more accurate to say that carrots are for eye health maintenance. Improvement and maintenance are vastly different.
An improvement would be like making the car faster, while maintenance will only maintain the car. Maintenance will not make the car faster, but rather, keep the car in its best shape. The same goes for your eye health. Your vision stays the same and does not improve, but your eyes stay healthy.
May Prevent Cancer
If left unchecked, free radicals in your body will accumulate and do damage to your cells. As a result, this increases the risks of cancer. Here is how eating a carrot can help.
The beta carotene in a carrot can act as an antioxidant in your body. Antioxidants are what defends the cells against free radicals, thus keeping their numbers in check.
Improve Digestive Health
Fiber is a good reason why eating carrots is beneficial to you. Research has shown that increased fiber intake can help your digestion and lower the risks of chronic illnesses. The fiber in the gut does not affect you directly but rather help the bacteria in the gut.
Not all bacteria is bad for you. In fact, you and the bacteria in the gut have a mutual relationship. You, the host, provides shelter for the bacteria, and in return, they will help your digestion. Fiber will serve as the food for the bacteria, and in return, they produce acetate, propionate, and butyrate, which will help lower the risks of stomach problems.
Lower The Risks Of Chronic Illnesses
Carrot contains fiber and potassium, and together they can help lower the risks of chronic illnesses. Studies have shown that eating potassium-enriched foods while having low sodium levels will help ease your blood vessels. This reduces the risk of high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses.
Fiber also has been proven to also lower the risks of chronic illnesses. Fiber is proven to lower the bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
Filled With Vitamins
A carrot contains vitamins A, K, E, C, and calcium. Eating a carrot would be like intaking a vitamin supplement. All of these vitamins combined benefit you in boosting your immune system and may prevent many diseases.
On top of that, both vitamin K and calcium contribute to bone health.
Carrots are also incredibly low in calories. For every ten baby carrots, it only contains 40 calories. So feel free to indulge yourself with carrots.
Carrots are incredibly healthy for you. There are no known downsides to eating carrots.