Carrots are vegetables which vary in length from 2 inches to 3 feet and in diameter from half inch to 2 inches. The color of carrot is orange in most cases but could be white or purple. It has a crunchy texture with a slight sweet taste and a tinge of aromatic taste.
Carrot contains water (88 percent), carbohydrates (9.56 percent), Minerals (calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium) and vitamins (vitamin A (16706 IU/100grams) and vitamin C (59 grams/100grams). Carrot has very minute protein, no cholesterol, no fats/oils.
The health benefits of carrots are due to beta-carotene (vitamin A) and fibre
1. Protect Your Eyes, Helps in Night Vision
Carrot contains beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the liver and also lots of vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for proper development of the eyes, prevents dryness of the eyes and also ensures night vision, it prevents night blindness. In fact low Vitamin A level in the body can destroy the eyes. Vitamin A is anti- macular degeneration and reduces the risk of premature cataract. Carrots also contain another phyto-nutrient , Lutein which also protects our sight.
2. Prevents Constipation
Carrot contains fibre (about 9.5 percent) which is known to ease constipation and also reduces the risk of colon cancer. Fibre also helps to reduce blood pressure but cannot be used on its own to control blood pressure.
3. Fights against cancer
As said earlier, carrot is very rich in fibres; many studies in the last three decades have shown a link between increased fibre in-take and a decrease in colon cancer. This could be due to the fibre itself or the nutrients that are usually in fibre-rich foods such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and essential fatty acid. Daily consumption of carrot while in season is highly recommended.
4. Cares for your skin.
Carrots contain a lot of anti-oxidants which are known to fight free radicals in our body. Free radicals are partly responsible for the accelerated aging of the cells in our body including the cells of the skin. Carrots therefore can slow down the aging of the skin, making the skin fresh and healthy.
5. Strengthens our body defense.
Carrots help to increase our immunity and hence our ability to fight infections especially viral. This is due to vitamin C. The vitamin C in carrots stimulates the production of white cells in our body, the cells that fight viruses and bacteria in our body.
6. Promotes the health of the heart
Carrot contains plenty of soluble fibre; high intake of soluble fibre reduces absorption of cholesterol and bile acid (which are also rich in cholesterol) from the small intestines, thereby reducing blood cholesterol level. When soluble fibres are broken down by bacteria in the intestines, some fatty acids released are said to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering blood cholesterol, fibres help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Carrot also contains plenty of potassium (about 9 percent of daily allowance) which helps to prevent irregular heart beat and to reduce risk of stroke.