Carrots are vegetables that come in different colors such as orange, white or purple. The botanical name is Daucus carota. An amazing vegetable that has many health benefits including the prevention of cancer just as Cucumber does and many other fruits and vegetables. As good as theyare, only a few know of the benefits and uses to the body. Some people eat them for their sweet taste, others are attracted to their colors and others eat them for their food value.
Staying in Jos Plateau state of Nigeria is a blessing as many fruits and vegetables that are not readily available in other parts of Nigeria are very much available in Farin Gada, building material market of Jos south LGAand Terminus markets of Jos at cheap prices. Jos supplies most of the carrots, cabbage, cucumber, straw berry and lots more to other states in Nigeria.
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Nutrients available in carrots
There are so many nutrients found in this vegetable. In about 122 grams of carrots, the following percentages of nutrients are available:
- 5% of vitamins E and B2
- 6% of folate, copper and phosphorus; folate is important in pregnancy because it prevents congenital abnormalities in children
- 7% of vitamins B5 and B1
- 8% of vitamin B3
- 9% of manganese
- 10% of vitamins C for wound healing/antioxidant and B6 (blood formation)
- 11% of potassium
- 14% of fibre and molybdenum
- 18% of vitamin K which helps in blood clotting
- 20% of biotin for strong nails and hair
- 113% of vitamin A
These nutrients all play vital roles in the body.
Health benefits of Carrot
The function, use or benefit of carrot to our health lies in its anti-oxidant effect, low sugar content and richness in vitamin A. Here are the health benefits of carrots:
- Low sugar content: Carrots have only 3% of carbohydrate, making it a suitable vegetable for diabetic patients and for those who generally like to avoid high calorie diets for health related reasons such as obesity or stress.
- Increases insulin absorption:The presence of carotenoids helps in regulating blood glucose levels in diabetics by improving insulin effects in the body. It helps to make the cells sensitive to insulin and therefore it is recommended forpatients suffering from insulin resistant (type 2) diabetes mellitus. Ithelps to control the amount and metabolism of glucose and insulin in the body thereby regulating any fluctuations in the diabetics. This vegetable is highly recommended for diabetics of any type.
- Improves eye sight:122 grams of carrots contains about 113% of Vitamin A which improves vision in people deficient in vitamin A. This is due to the presence of beta-carotene. Apart from improving vision, italso helps reduce the risk of having macular degeneration in old age
- It reduces the risk of having cancer or cardiovascular diseases:Another benefit of beta-carotene is its ability to reduce the risk of lung cancer and other cancers such as prostate cancer, leukaemia and colorectal cancer. beta-carotene reduces cancer risk by its antioxidant effect which helps to mob-up free radicals in the body. Aside from being able to reduce cancer risk, it also helps reduce cardiovascular diseases mainly because of the presence of vitamin C and the beta-carotene which are antioxidants.
- It lowers blood pressure and other health risks:Carrots contain potassium which helps to dilate the blood vessels and thereby reduce blood pressure levels, coupled with this, it also contains coumarin, which helps prevent heart attacks by making the blood to become thin, this makes it unlikely for blood clot to form in the blood vessels and hence reduces the occurrence of thrombosis ( a condition in which a blood clot occurs in the vessels which may occlude the blood flow to an organ causing problems such as stroke, blindness, heart attack etc. depending on the organ affected.)
Uses and functions of Carrots
- For making of fruit juice: When you want to make a natural fruit juice or smoothie, carrots could help color the juice for you, it makes it more colorful and also adds the nutrients needed by your body as stated above. It can be blended and added directly to the juice or could be sieved for those that may not like the chaff but for me, I like it with the chaff. It is best served when it is chilled. This is a very rich source of vitamin A drinks that could be given to children to take to school as the color alone is attractive to kids.
- For making Fruit salad: Apart from making juice, itcould be cut into pieces and use for making fruit salad when combined with other fruits such as straw berry, mangoes, oranges, watermelon, cucumber and any other fruit of your choice. Fruit salad helps to bring all the important nutrients that your body needs into one mixture. It is therefore good to know what each fruit provides to the body and then a combination could be made that will provide all the needed nutrient. Fruit salad is best when served cold especially in areas whose weather is hot.
- It can be parboiled:I first tried out this type in 2016, I was just curious to see how it will taste when parboiledand it really tasted great., trust me on this one. It was soft and tasted like cooked yam even though it was watery. It seems the boiling brings more of the taste. You could add little salt (not much salt) just to spice it up.
- It is great when used for making vegetable salad just as fruit salad. Adding beetroots, cabbage, lettuce, carrots and other vegetables of choice makes a great salad. This can be done by chopping them into pieces or by grating into tiny pieces with the use of a grater. I prefer the grating to chopping with a knife; the grated carrot can be mixed with other vegetables to make a great salad.
- For cooking of food or making of soup:carrots could be used as a vegetable to garnish our food, as an appetizer and could also be use for making of vegetable soup and carrot stew.The vegetable soup could be use in turn for eating rice, yam, potatoes etc, while the carrot stew is a simple alternative to tomato stew. If you have not tried it out yet, then try making it at home.
- Aids in digestion:the presence of dietary fibre helps in digestion by increasing the bulk of stool, stimulation of peristalsis (movement of the digestive tract) and also secretion of digestive enzymes in digestive juice.
- Aids in wound healing:ithas a germicidal effect that helps increase immunity and one of the ways it does this is the presence of vitamin C which aids in wound healing and stimulation of white blood cell production.
There are so many things could do with this vegetable.
Harmful health effect of carrots?
Too much of everything they say is bad. Likewise, over consumption of carrots leads to a condition called carotodermawhich cause the deposition of the yellowish carotene in the skin tissue. The harmful effect of this condition is not yet known, hence some people use this as a means of changing their skin color compared to using bleaching cream. This usually disappears when the rate of consumption reduces. Excessive consumption could also lead to hyperkalemia which could cause heart problems instead of its beneficial effect if it were moderately consumed.
Dr. Brown is the founder of Jotscroll, he is a Medical Doctor, Entrepreneur, and author. Dr. Razi Brown holds a medical degree from the University of San Diego. He has invested in many startups and is currently working on his fifth book to be published in the upcoming year.