Like exercise, food can rightfully be viewed and approached as “medicine” because of its tremendous healing potential. Specific food items can help speed healing of a health problem that is acute, such as common cold or flu. The effect can also be more long-term and preventive in nature in other cases.
Today we will talk about one such food item – carrot. It should be on your list of medicinal superfoods. This root vegetable exceeds its simple looks in so many ways. Let us find out how.
The essential nutrients that a carrot contains include vitamins A, C, K, folate, and choline. It also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus, and comprises carotenoids and polyphenols that have anti-cancer, antioxidant and immunity-enhancing properties.
Especially carotenoids reduce DNA damage and therefore the risk of certain cancers manifesting by neutralizing free radicals in the body. Flavonoids and phenolic derivatives, which are other antioxidants present within carrots, have also been shown to have anti-carcinogenic, immunity-boosting, and inflammation-reducing capabilities.
According to scientists, cutting a carrot after boiling could boost the amount of falcarinol, a natural sugar by a quarter. Cooking it whole and chopping it up afterwards locks both the taste and the nutrients in it.
Research in China has shown that carrots can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by a fifth.
Apart from fighting cancer, a carrot can
- Protect skin and eye health
- Balance blood sugar
- Improve blood health
- Relieve congestion
- Cleanse the kidneys
- Improve brain function
We will now look more closely at some of the great reasons to include this superfood in your diet.
The Goodness of Carrot
Eye Health – Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin in carrots boost eye health considerably. Various forms of eye disorders like macular degeneration and blindness can occur without beta carotenes. Both lutein and zeaxanthin work to reduce the vision loss that is related to age.
Heart Health – Carrot decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in adult women. Current research indicates that carrot lowers oxidative stress and improves the body’s defense against cardiovascular diseases, thereby benefitting heart health. This is likely due to the high antioxidant content the vegetable contains.
Cholesterol and Digestion – Carrot can lower cholesterol, and boost bile production. The latter increases the body’s ability to digest fat. This directly impacts the good cholesterol levels in your body, which protects your heart. It also helps your digestive system to properly absorb nutrition from your food.
Oral Health – Carrot has nutrients that improves the body’s ability to fight toxins and bacteria that enter through the mouth and live within the gums and teeth. Antibacterial minerals in carrots can help prevent tooth decay and cavities. If eaten after meals, carrot can also help remove plaque and stains from teeth.
Skin Health and Wound Healing – For healing any type of wound, beta carotene is critical. Carrot increases your ability to heal faster, fight infection and inflammation, thus benefitting your skin health and protecting against any type of skin infection, cuts, or other wounds.
Brain Health – Carrot helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory, and defend against cognitive decline. It can lower oxidative stress in the brain and strengthen nerve signaling capacity.
Getting carrots in your diet
There are so many options to add carrot carrots to your diet. You can
- Eat them raw, which is arguably the best way to eat them. The crunchiness will help remove the plaque and food, and you will also get more of the nutrients. Eat raw slices of carrot. Grate it up and mix it into your salads. In order to add that little extra boost to your salad, add it to couscous and lemon or ginger.
- Spiralize them. If you want to enjoy a low carb diet, use them in place for noodles for stir fries. Cook the spiraled carrots within the stir fries.
- Add them to stews or soups. If you steam them, it will keep some of the moisture in them, but will not add fats. After steaming, if you mash them with potatoes, turnips or other vegetables, it will work for those who do not like the taste of something in particular.
- Juice them. Because of the sweet taste to it, carrot juice is popular. Blend it down while juicing it. This will help you get all the nutritional benefits and all the fibre.
So what are you waiting for? Go grab your daily share of carrot now and keep living a healthy life!