The carrot has a long tradition as a source of food and medicinal plants. The root is considered extremely healthy and provides numerous vitamins and nutrients. In particular, the high content of beta-carotene, which is largely responsible for the distinctive coloration, has a healing and protective influence on the body.
This ingredient helps you get a more intense tan and stronger skin. Additionally, carotenoids improve your sight in the dark. Heart health is even said to benefit from the vegetable that is often associated with rabbits.
And best of all: carrots have little calorific value and are therefore suitable for any diet. They are also available in different colors. In addition to white, black, and yellow, they are also available in purple.
Before its mass cultivation as a useful plant, the wild carrot dominated continental Europe in the distant past. It only develops a wise bud of numerous inflorescences and leaves in the second year.
There is still uncertainty as to its exact origin. The tasty root presumably comes from the Near East. Like coriander or dill, it belongs to a common family, Umbelliferae (Apiaceae).
In its thick roots, it stores valuable nutrients as a reserve for inhospitable times. The shape of the vegetables is also extremely diverse: from spherical, elongated, short, cylindrical with a pointed or rounded end.
Despite, or perhaps due to, this property, the root also gained a great reputation as a symbol of fertility.
In ancient times, it was very popular as a breeding culture for self-sufficiency or trade. At the same time, people from the beginning appreciated the healing power of this type of vegetable. They were used to gently cover open wounds.
The first evidence of the carrot, which is very common today, dates back to the 17th century. The artist Pieter Aertsen immortalized the orange beet in one of his works and thus left the first testimony.
With a stronger rind and a sweeter flavor, the garden carrot is simply cheaper and more attractive to you as a potential buyer. Modern carrots, typically orange in color, are the result of a selective crossing of several varieties.
What nutrients are in a carrot?
Together, this results in an energy value of 26 kcal. At the same time, the fiber it contains guarantees unusually good tolerance, even for sensitive people.
An optimal combination of soluble and solid components allows a smooth passage through the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, they stimulate metabolism, keep the intestines moving, and even reduce lipid levels in the blood.
As a laxative, they can help casually against constipation and therefore prove to be a real savior in case of pathological stool behavior.
Vitamin and mineral bunkers
If you attach great importance to a healthy diet, carrots should be on the plate regularly since they contain a valuable mixture of minerals and vitamins. However, these values differ according to the subspecies and the growing conditions.
Depending on the type, this amount is also subject to fluctuations between 5 and 30 milligrams per 100 grams. In addition, they contain 15% potassium per 100 grams, which regulates muscle function and blood pressure.
It is also compatible with blood clotting and therefore contributes to better wound healing. Finally, a 5 µg biotin content strengthens nails, hair, skin, and the ability to focus on mental tasks.
In order for your body to absorb all these nutrients, a small amount of unsaturated fatty acids is still necessary. By the way: taking vitamins and dietary supplements already prepared does not always come without risks.
The body often regulates its actual needs through so-called pre-stage utilization. If there is no longer a demand, it no longer converts the absorbed substances into the necessary vitamins.
The enzymes responsible for this cease their work and only wake up when the supply level is reduced. The same applies to carotenes and metabolism to vitamin A.
An overdose in the form of hypervitaminosis is simply impossible when eating pure carrots.
Overview of all the minerals and vitamins in the carrot:
- Calcium (35 mg), Iron (3.8 mg), Magnesium (13 mg)
- Potassium (328 mg), Zinc (0.27 mg), Phosphorus (36 mg)
- Vitamin B1 (69 µg), Vitamin B2 (53 µg), Vitamin B6 (0.27) mg
- Vitamin C (500 µg) and Vitamin E (46.5 µg)
Beta-carotene: light and shadow in cancer risk
In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2003), intensive consumption of beta-carotene was verified in smokers and drinkers.
In fact, an unpleasant picture emerged: Test subjects with long-term consumption of high doses of carotene tended to show more pronounced tumor precursors in the lungs and colon. However, this devastating effect only occurred in combination with regular daily alcohol consumption.
The same relationship was also observed with cigarette smoking. However, based on these results, you should not draw an incorrect conclusion. Another group of counter controls showed an impressive 44% reduction in the development of cancer of the lung and gastrointestinal tract.
These people also took beta-carotene in the same amount for them but gave up smoking and regular alcohol consumption. For this reason, many carotene supplements have a warning for smokers and alcohol users. Excessive concerns about high cancer risk are inappropriate.
The amount added in the experiments clearly exceeded the natural carotene content in the carrots. Such high consumption of carrots daily for years is considered to be completely unrealistic.
Unilateral nutrition is known to have never been beneficial to health. Furthermore, the findings can also be positive.
Cancer appears to occur less frequently with a healthier outlook on life thanks to the influence of antioxidants present in carrots.
Its health benefits
Vitamin A primarily increases the ability to see in the dark. A good supply of carotenoids prevents so-called night blindness. Increases the production and storage of visual purpura (rhodopsin) in the eye rod cells, ensuring acceptable vision, especially in low light conditions.
Studies related to eye diseases have found that glaucoma and macular degeneration occur with age.
Beetroot as juice or raw food has been shown to be a natural protective shield against eye diseases, therefore carrot serves as a reliable preventative measure against consequential long-term damage, especially in the case of stressful screening work or if you have sensitive eyes.
The physical quality of the carrot also ensures that the teeth are mechanically cleaned by nibbling. Similar to chewing gum, intensive chewing promotes gum circulation and salivation.
As a natural source of vitamin A, carrots also promote skin regeneration. The binding of free radicals not only inhibits the formation of degenerate cells but also leads to a slower and smoother advance in aging. However, excessive consumption of the carrot is not without conspicuous consequences.
After a few weeks, there is a surprising change in skin color to a light yellow or orange hue. After all, freshly obtained complexions are not without benefits: Like body melanin, discoloration offers additional protection against long-term damage in the event of excessive sun exposure.
Even cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems (type-2 diabetes) can be prevented through carotene-based nutrition. The lycopene also keeps the walls of the blood vessels free of deposits permanently.
Two Simple Recipes: Vitamin Burgers and Carrot-Ginger Soup
Eating raw carrot would be a little bland in the long run. Fortunately, you have plenty of options to easily and attractively prepare carrots. Two small examples should give you a little incentive for further research or experimentation.
As the most famous representative of fast food, the hamburger does not necessarily have the best reputation for its health value. But there is another way: For a vitamin veggie burger, you need zucchini and carrots in peeled and ripped form.
Add a little egg, flour, parsley, and season with a little pepper and a pinch of salt. Fry the mixture on both sides in a pan with olive oil, then heat in foil and add sliced aubergines and tomatoes to the pan. Add a little oregano and garlic to complete the aroma.
Toasted burger buns hold the contents together. With tomatoes and aubergines include carrots and zucchini too. If you want, you can add some lettuce leaves.
- 2 hamburger buns
- 100 grams of carrots
- 100 grams of zucchini
- 1 tablespoon of flour and parsley
- Tomato and eggplant slices
- Olive oil
Carrot and ginger soup:
The soup is always easy to digest and requires little effort to prepare. Approximately twenty minutes is enough for this simple but tasty recipe. The ginger is cut into small cubes so that you can then crush them. Peel the beets thoroughly and cut them into slices.
Both together should be simmered with butter. The added sugar is caramelized at the same temperature. The next step is adding vegetable broth and coconut milk. You let them both cook for a time over medium heat.
In the end, using a hand blender results in an extremely creamy consistency. A little salt and pepper also give the soup a sharper note. As a little extra, the garnish of a baguette or bread is adequate.
- Ginger, carrots, sugar, butter, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper, baguettes.