I want to spark your creativity! Most people don't think of the health benefits of carrots or other foods when they eat them but, that is what the "Health Benefits Series" is all about. I love learning about healthy foods to eat and finding ways to include them in my diet.
Carrots are probably one of the most commonly eaten foods in all the world. They are easy to grow, easily available and an economical vegetable that won't break your budget.
Did you know that the health benefits of carrots are as varied as the beautiful colors they come in? It's true. While most people think of orange carrots, they come in many colors - purple, white, red and yellow.
The health benefits start with the nutrition found in them. Carrots get their color from carotenoids which are antioxidants. Beta Carotene is one of these carotenoids. Carrots also contain high levels of vitamin A along with vitamins C, D, E and K. They also contain minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium
You probably know that carrots are considered a root vegetable. When growing, the carrots produce a green stalk above ground while the root is grown underground. Many times, the carrot roots are sold in packages and people never see the green of the carrot.
Carrot greens can also be eaten in salads and are good for juicing. Here is my favorite carrot juice recipe. By drinking carrot juice you are getting a concentrated dose of the health benefits of carrots.
8 Health Benefits of Carrots
There are a number of health benefits that carrots have - let's look at 8 of them.
1. Healthy for teeth
Eating carrots helps keeps your teeth clean and healthy. Just like when we discussed apples, eating carrots also increases our saliva production. Eaten raw, you're going to produce extra saliva to digest carrots and get them down the hatch.
The friction from chewing raw carrots on our teeth and has a cleaning effect. And, since our saliva is alkaline, it helps fight bacteria that causes cavities. The minerals found in carrots also help keep your teeth strong.
2. Helpful in Preventing Heart Disease
Eating carrots and drinking carrot juice may help reduce oxidative stress, lower cholesterol, and boost bile production. These factors all aid in our bodies work against heart disease. The increased bile production will help your body digest fat better, keep digestion running smoothly and help your body to absorb the nutrients from the food you eat more efficiently.
3. Boost immunity
Carrots are high in vitamin C. Do you ever reach for a bottle of that come winter time? Grab some carrots from the produce section instead to gain all the other health benefits listed here as well. Vitamin C stimulates our white blood cells which keeps our immune system in peak performance mode all winter.
4. Prevent cancer
There are a lot of antioxidants in carrots. These include: include: vitamin C, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin. Carrots are one of the highest natural sources of carotenoid phytochemicals and antioxidant beta carotene, both of which fight cancer by stopping DNA damage, levels of inflammation and cell mutation.
Beta-carotene has been linked to reduced instances of cancer, notably lung cancer. It may also reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. The high fiber content of carrots helps prevent constipation and keep things processing smoothly in the body. This helps to reduce the incidence of colon cancer.
5. Boost eye health
Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are needed for eye health and carrots contain them all! These nutrients, along with vitamin A also found in carrots, help keep our eyes healthy longer and boost our overall vision. Eating carrots can help prevent macular degeneration, night blindness, age related vision loss, and cataracts.
6. Encourage weight loss
Did you know that a medium carrot only has 25 calories? They are also high in fiber and low in fat. High fiber is the key to staying fuller longer. Adding carrots and many other vegetables to a well-rounded diet can aid in feelings of fullness.
You can eat them raw or cook them (try adding some healthy fat like coocnut oil or grass fed butter) but, the high fiber may also reduce your overall calorie consumption which will help you lose weight.
7. Lower blood pressure
We discussed the high potassium content in bananas but, did you know that carrots are also good source of potassium? Potassium is a vasodilator and that means that it helps relax the tension in your blood vessels (veins and arteries). This in turn increases blood flow and circulation and helps reduce blood pressure.
Carrots also contain coumarin, which is associated with reducing hypertension and helping to protect your heart.
8. Reduce the risk of diabetes
Carrots contain carotenoids, which inversely effect insulin resistance. This may lower blood sugar or help keep it stable, making carrots a low-starch vegetable that can safely be consumed by diabetics. Those with a genetic predisposition for diabetes may have a lower risk if they consume carrots.
Are You Convinced to add Carrots to Your Diet?
I hope you are convinced, after seeing this list of the health benefits of carrots, to add this vegetable to your family's meal plan. It is definitely a healthy food to eat and worth finding recipes using carrots and include them in your diet.
Looking for more health foods?
Check out the Health Benefits Series and find more healthy foods to eat!
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