Carrots Nutrition and Good Health - Part 2 - bodily functions
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PLEASE NOTE: The Carrot Museum does not recommend self diagnosis or self medication. The information contained in this web site has not been verified for correctness. Some of the information contained herein is hearsay and may not be correct. Use the information from this page only at your own risk! If in doubt consult a doctor. Note: If you have diabetes it is recommended you read this before eating carrots. Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Read more here.
Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Read more.
(A cautionary note - The Carrot Museum cautions you to not believe all studies. Please trust your own judgment. As a researcher I am happy to share and cite studies that appear promising, that carrots provide health giving properties. However the body and individual metabolisms and gene make up are all different so it is difficult to be positive that any of it will work for any particular individual. In fact it is often difficult to ensure, or decipher, whether any of the research is not financially or otherwise biased. You can find just as many convincing studies supporting mainstream treatments, together with other evidence that there is no effect. Also many studies are based on animal tests, rather than humans.)
Quick Summary - Carrot has remarkable nutritional and health benefits. There are good reasons to include carrots in human diet, since they are enriched with carotenoids, phenolic compounds, polyacetylenes, and vitamins and by this reason they may help reduce the risk of some diseases. Experimental evidence has reported that these carrot compounds exert antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, and immunoenhancer effects. Anti-diabetic, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease lowering, anti-hypertensive, hepatoprotective, renoprotective, and wound healing benefits of carrot have also been reported. The mechanism by which these carrot compounds decrease the risk of some diseases is complex and sometimes largely unknown. The cardio- and hepatoprotective, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects of carrot seed extracts are also noteworthy. (Silva Dias, J.C. (2014) Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 2147-2156. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/fns.2014.522227)
Simple summary sheets - "Why Everyone Should Eat more Carrots" - The Health Benefits of Carrots and The Benefits of Carrot Juice
Carrots are more nutritious when cut by a knife! - read here. Home recipes for face/body products - read more
There is some evidence that beta-carotene in combination with selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E might lower high-density lipoprotein 2 (HDL2) cholesterol levels. Glutathione (GSH), another natural antioxidant, may also be important in blood pressure and glucose homeostasis, consistent with the involvement of free radicals in both essential hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Glutathione improves liver detoxification by binding to toxins and neutralising their harmful effects
The carrot contains calcium, potassium, vitamin B and C. Calcium helps prevent the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contracting of the muscular wall of the vessels. Potassium promotes regular heartbeat. Vitamin B improves metabolism. Vitamin C protects cells against free radicals and strengthens blood vessel walls.
Vitamin A in carrot is important in vision; a deficiency in vitamin A will inhibit the reformation of rhodopsin and lead to night blindness. It also improves coughing and high blood pressure. Enough sun exposure everyday helps vitamin A take effect.
Carrots possess strong antiseptic qualities, can be used as a laxative, vermicide (worm expelling agent), poultice and for the treatment of liver conditions. Carrots contain cholesterol-lowering pectin. U.S. Department of Agriculture research suggests two carrots a day may lower cholesterol 10 up to 20 percent.
Ordinary carrot oil is particularly suitable
for dry and chapped skin and helps make the skin noticeably softer, smoother,
firmer, and has been used in Europe for decades in baby oil, lip care, night
creams, vitamin creams, and body lotions. Mix 4 drops of oil into 2 teaspoons
of a carrier oil such as almond or apricot kernel.
more, also a home made recipe face mask.
Never rub neat oil directly onto your skin - any pure essential oil can burn.
Your mother may have told you that carrots will make your eyes sharper, but that's not the only power of carrots.
Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities - 2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer. In fact, a substance called falcarinol that is found in carrots has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, according to researchers at Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS). Kirsten Brandt, head of the research department, explains that isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol.
This substance is a polyacethylen, soluble in water and therefore some
falcarinol is lost during boiling, but not all of it. In further experiments
(read here), it was found
that if they are boiled whole or steamed, the loss is approx. 30% (so there is
still 70% in the carrot), while if they are cut into small pieces before
boiling, the loss is much greater, more like 60% lost (40% retained in the
When they are boiled (using any method) the carrots are easier to digest, so it is likely that you take up more of the falcarinol in them (lose less of it in the stools). Due to this it is not possible to say if boiled is better or worse than raw, since a better bioavailability can easily make up for the 30% loss.
According to Swedish researchers, eating plenty of carrots can lower your risk for lung cancer. A recent study found that although non-smokers have a lower risk of developing lung cancer than smokers do, non-smokers who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables can decrease that risk even more. Read full article on Falcarinol here.
Non-smokers with a high vegetable intake lower their risk by about 30 percent. Those who eat a lot of non-citrus fruits lower their risk by about 40 percent. But the real wonder vegetable appears to be carrots.
Vitamin A helps normal cell reproduction. When cells do not reproduce (differentiate) Studies have found that eating a lot of carrots is a strong indicator of lower cancer risk. That's probably because carrots are a valuable source of a wide variety of substances in food called carotenoids with exotic names like cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids provide a wealth of health benefits, including protection from the damages of free radicals that have been linked to cancer. As antioxidants, they can help fight cancers of the bladder, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon/rectum and prostate. Beta carotene is an antioxidant vitamin. Antioxidants have been found to lower risks for heart disease and some forms of cancer. Among substances present in carrots are phytochemicals that are thought to reduce the incidence of cancer. These include coumarins, quercetin, kaempferol, and terpenes.
Read more about antioxidants here.
The cancer preventive activity of vitamin E has been suggested by many epidemiologic studies. However, several recent large-scale human trials with α-tocopherol, the most commonly recognized and used form of vitamin E, failed to show a cancer preventive effect. The recently finished follow-up of the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) even showed higher prostate cancer incidence in subjects who took α-tocopherol supplementation. The scientific community is divided and the general public are faced with a question: “Does vitamin E prevent or promote cancer?” As with many academic research you can easily find one to justify your argument, notwithstanding that there are also several which dispute it. Also tests made on animals do not always transfer well onto humans.
The most encouraging news about carrots anti-cancer properties comes from studies into Falcarinol - Read full article on Falcarinol here.
Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say the best thing you can do to lower your risk for lung cancer is to not smoke. Then if you eat your fruits and vegetables, you can lower your risk even more. Because the ingredients of Carrots lower your blood sugars they can be used to good advantage in the prevention of cancer, diabetes, dyspepsia and gout, even heart disease.
The root is prepared in various ways for use on tumours, cancerous ulcers, cancerous wounds, tumors of the testicles, mammary carcinoma and skin ulcers. The juice of the root is applied to carcinomous ulcers of the neck and uterus, cancer of the bowels and stomach cancer. Scraped roots are used to stimulate indolent ulcers.
Cancer-fearers may be reinforced by the knowledge that carrots are relatively high in fibre, retinoid like substances, and the seeds also contain the rather ubiquitous ß-sitosterol. This, alone and in combination with similar plant sterols, reduces blood levels of cholesterol. This appears to be because beta-sitosterol blocks absorption of cholesterol. It has also been effective in reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
While information at this time is incomplete as to the relation of the vitamin E complex to human nutrition and body processes, it is believed that further experiments will bring some dramatic developments. In the meantime, it is safe to assume that, as with all of the other vitamins, vitamin E complex plays an important part in building vital health. It is a wise precaution, therefore, to include plenty of carrots in the daily diet.
Because of its rich vitamin and mineral content, and other valuable nutrients, the daily diet should be fortified with the protective and healthful benefits of carrot juice. It can be taken alone, or combined with other fruit (apple) and vegetables juices or even blended with an avocado.
The following bodily functions are aided by Carrots
The body can only change so much beta-carotene into Vitamin A and any excess boosts the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant in its own right. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage to cells, tissues and most importantly to the fat in our bloodstream that can lead to blocked arteries and heart disease.
Studies show that people who eat carotene-rich
foods have lower risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis. In a Swedish
study involving women 50 years and over, those who ate about one-half a carrot's
worth of beta carotene daily had two-thirds lower risk for breast cancer
compared to women who skimped on their carotene intake. Other studies show
that a lycopene-rich diet protects against prostate cancer in men. And research
also shows lutein and zeaxanthin, acting as antioxidants, protect the eyes
from macular degeneration, a leading form of blindness in the elderly. And
still other studies suggest that carotenes cut heart disease risk in both
men and women.
Experiments have shown that eating lightly-cooked carrots is much more beneficial than eating raw carrots, which confirms the ancient wisdom in traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have always recommended that their patients eat lightly-cooked carrots in order to get the best nutritional absorption. Recent research by Dr. Xiangdong Wang at Tufts University shows that beta carotene can change in the human body into a substance called retinoic acid, which is widely used to treat cancers.
Carrot sticks or a chocolate bar? When it comes to preventing a stroke, you may want to go with the carrot sticks even though they won't satisfy your chocolate craving.
According to a new study published in the October 6 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, squeezing 9 to 10 servings of fruit into your daily diet can reduce the risk of stroke by 31 percent. That finding is based on research conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. They looked at 75,596 women ages 34 to 59 over 14 years and 38,683 men ages 40 to 75 over an eight-year period. All study participants were free of heart disease, cancer and diabetes when the study began.
Each fruit or vegetable serving in addition to consuming 9 to 10 servings daily was associated with an additional 6 percent reduction in risk. The lowest risk for stroke was among those who ate high quantities of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and collard greens. Green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and juices were also linked to a lower stroke risk.
Improve your eye health (ever see a rabbit wearing glasses?)
Can eating carrots really improve your
eyesight? Sorry No! They will help to keep your eyes healthy and not deteriorate
as quickly. When your mother said "Eat your carrots, they'll help your eyes,"
she had a point. Eating carrots does provide benefits to your eyes, experts
Both vitamin A and beta-carotene are known to lower the risk of eye disease, hence the carrot's association with eyesight. The University of Wisconsin has developed a variety of carrot that contains 3 to 5 times more vitamin A than the average carrot. Named the Beta III, it was bred especially for growing in countries suffering from severe vitamin A deficiency and epidemic blindness.
Carrot do however help you see in the dark - Well - Yes And No! -
Night blindness – also known as nyctalopia – does not actually imply you’re blind, but rather it means that seeing at night is becoming increasingly difficult. Nyctolopia is not limited to the night time only and can also be experienced during the day in a dim-lit room.
Normally, our eyes are supposed to adjust to the changes in light exposure fairly quickly. This allows for a smooth transition without any complications. Those affected by night blindness either need too much time to adjust or can’t do properly. This increases the risk of injury and other complications, as one’s vision becomes impaired in the absence of adequate lighting.
In a clear vision, light reflecting off an object enters the eye, and is bent by the cornea and then by the lens to focus an image onto the retina. Receptor cells in the retina – rods and cones – convert the light impulses into nerve signals, which are sent to the brain’s visual cortex. This is where the image is processed, and this is what is known as the sense of vision.
Our night vision is diminished because of insufficient light to reflect off the object – for example, at night or in a dark room – and it’s normal. The intensity of reflected light stimulated the receptor cells that adjust to new conditions. The problem of night blindness arises when there’s abnormality in stimulation of these photoreceptors. One of the culprits is a vitamin A deficiency, which affects the levels of rhodopsin, a pigment in receptor cells participating in the adjustment processes.
When you eat carrots, the beta-carotene is transformed into retinol or vitamin A. Carrots are high in Vitamin A, and a deficiency in this nutrient can cause some difficulty seeing in dim light. Vitamin A is essential for the formation of the chemical retinal, whose presence in the retina is necessary for vision. Our eyes have two kinds of light sensitive cells: the rods and the cones. The rods are the cells we rely on to see in dim light. They are sensitive to Vitamin A deficiency, because it can cause a shortage of retinol.
The retina is the light-sensing part of the eye that holds the rods and cones, which contain enzymes that absorb light and allow us to see. When light strikes the retinal molecule, it changes its shape. This activates a cascade of chemical reactions that informs the brain that light has entered the eye. When the levels of light sensitive molecules are low, due to Vitamin A deficiency, there will not be enough retinal to detect the light at night. During the day there is enough light to produce vision, despite low levels of retinal. So it's only night vision that can be improved by eating carrots.
The rods provide black and white vision and respond in dim light while the cones provide colour vision and respond to bright light. Vitamin A helps the retina tell black from white and provides for colour vision. It also helps us see in dim light or at night. When you go into a darkened theatre after being out in the bright light, your eyes are able to adapt because of the vitamin A that you have stored in your body.
So really the answer is they do help you see in the dark, but can only improve your night vision if you are deficient in Vitamin A. Here is an experiment which proved it. (Opens in new window).
Watch this video from chemist Chad Jones, Ph.D., American Chemical Society, which helps to explain matters - here
How did the myth come about?
It seems that in World War II, Britain's air ministry spread the word that a diet of carrots (already known to be a good source of Vitamin A, essential for healthy eyesight) helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a propaganda story originating from Britain's Ministry of Food, intended to cover the real reason for the Royal Air Force's successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel. Apparently the motive of Lord Woolton (the Minister for Food) was twofold — it also encouraged folks to eat more vegetables (that could be grown in your own backyard) during ration time, when meat and imports were scarce.
Read more here.
Eye Health - It's possible that even very serious eye conditions might have a connection to carrots and other things you eat, though it remains difficult to truly determine if this kind of association is valid. If proven, it could then be a factor, for example, in the case of macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease and the leading cause of blindness in older people. (the Macula is a part of the retina at the back of the eye)
The pigment in the macula of the eye is composed mostly of two carotenoids similar to vitamin A,lutein and zeaxanthin which are obtained from the diet. Lutein and zeaxanthin play a crucial role in the eye: these two carotenoids accumulate in the retina, where they form the macular pigment, and they are found in the lens.
The macula of the eye contains (lutein and
zeaxanthin) which are obtained from sweetcorn, carrots and other yellow-orange
fruit and vegetables as well as dark green leafy vegetables.
Poor dietary intake of carotenoids is thought to be the main cause of this
condition and those who eat the most carotenoids have at least a 60 per cent
lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye
than those with low intake. For more information, contact the Macular Disease
Click here to find out more - The Macular Disease Society Web Site. All about Vision - Independent consumer resource of trustworthy information on eye health and vision correction options (US-based)
The Macular Degeneration Foundation also has some very helpful information and free fact sheet downloads - here.
Carrots can also help in fighting
conjunctivitis/blepharitis, Retinopathy and Cataracts.
Read more about the essential qualities of Vitamin
Vitamin A derived from carrots helps to form the inner lining of the eye. Dietary carotenoids from sources like carrots and spinach along with a consistent long-term use of Vitamin C were shown to reduce the risk of developing cataracts severe enough to warrant surgery. Researchers at the University of Helsinki found that supplementation of 20 mg. of betacarotene daily improved the visual acuity of 1,200 males and significantly reduced cataract formation.
Carrots, especially carrot juice, are a sure-fire ticket to better stomach and gastrointestinal health. The ancient Greeks even knew this-they used carrot juice to cure stomach disorders of all kinds. In fact, the word "carrot" is related to the word karoten, the ancient Greek word for carrots. Carrots improve a variety of digestive problems, such as:
Carrots have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as an effective remedy for aching joints. Just grate a carrot in a bowl, and squeeze some lemon juice on it. Enjoy it raw or steamed. Carrot nurtures the ligaments, bringing relief from pain.
Chewing of carrots increases saliva and quickens digestion by supplying the necessary enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Regular use of carrot prevents the formation of gastric ulcer and other digestive disorders. Carrot juice is an effective food remedy in ailments like intestinal colic, colitis, appendicitis, peptic ulcer and dyspepsia.
Carrot juice, combined with spinach j nice and a little lemon juice, is very effective in the treatment of constipation. Spinach juice cleanses the bowels. This effect cannot be expected soon after taking the juice. But within two months, the bowel starts emptying regularly. About 50 mi. of spinach juice should be added to 250 mi. of carrot juice to make this combination.
The carrot soup has been found an effective natural remedy for diarrhoea. It supplies fluid to combat dehydration, replenishes sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur and magnesium. It is a good source of pectin and coats the intestines to allay inflammation. It checks the growth of harmful bacteria and prevents vomiting. It is especially useful for children. 1/2 Kg. of carrot may be cooked in 150 mi. of water until it is soft. The pulp should be strained. Three-quarter tablespoon of salt may be added and a small amount of the soup should be given to the patient every half an hour. Improvement is usually noticeable in 24 hours.
The carrots are valuable in the elimination of thread worms from children as it is offensive to all parasites. A small cupful of grated carrot taken every morning, with no other food added to the meal, can clear these worms quickly.
Raw carrots are good for fertility. Sterility is sometimes overcome by its use. The cause of sterility has been traced to the continuous use of food in which enzymes are destroyed by cooking or pasteurizing.
Speak to your doctor or health-care provider about vitamin A rich carotenoids if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing the condition. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/473451-is-vitamin-a-good-for-diabetics/#ixzz1QBnUr3qr
The diet for people with diabetes is a balanced healthy diet, the same kind that is recommended for the rest of the population — low in fat, sugar and salt, with plenty of fruit and vegetables and meals including some starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes, cereals, pasta and rice.
There has been conflicting evidence as the whether people with diabetes should eat carrots and confusing advice about how much sugar there is in carrots and what their true glycemic number is, and therefore some advisors err on the side of caution and do not recommend you eat them.
The current thinking is that carrots are now an "ok" food for diabetics (medium effect on blood sugar levels), so the advice from the World Carrot Museum is that carrots are fine in moderation and you should, as always, consult your health practitioner or dietician should there be any concerns and before contemplating a change in diet.
Avoiding carrots because of their Glycemic Index ranking would be a big mistake, particularly given all the vitamins and minerals they contain and the low Glycemic Load of each serving. As seen elsewhere in this site, carrots are highly nutritious and can provide significant health benefits for several organs of the body.
When you eat a food, your blood sugar level rises. The food that raises blood sugar the highest is pure table sugar. So glycemic index is a ratio of how high that food raises blood sugar in comparison to how high table sugar raises blood sugar levels. Foods whose carbohydrates break down slowly release glucose into the bloodstream slowly, so blood sugar levels do not rise high and therefore these foods have low glycemic index scores. Those that break down quickly cause a high rise in blood sugar and have a high glycemic index.
Most beans, whole grains and non-starchy vegetables have low glycemic index; while sugars, refined grains made from flour, fruits and root vegetables have a high glycemic index.
If you look at tables of glycemic index, you will see things that should bother an intelligent person. A carrot has almost the same glycemic index as sugar does. That is ridiculous. You know that a carrot is far safer for diabetics than table sugar. So scientists developed a new measure to rank foods called glycemic load. It tells you how much sugar is in the food, rather than just how high it raises blood sugar levels. To calculate glycemic load, you multiply the grams of carbohydrate in a serving of food by that food's glycemic index.
Carrots and potatoes both have a high glycemic index, but using the new glycemic load (GL), carrots dropped from high GI of 131 to a GL of 10. Potatoes fall from a GI of 121 to a GL of 45. Air-popped popcorn, with a glycemic index of 79, has a GL of 4.
The advice of the Carrot Museum is like everything in life, take them in moderation.
No more pain during periods — Eat carrots
For any woman, ‘that time of the month’ seems really uncomfortable. Menstrual cramps, heavy or irregular bleeding, back pain everything makes life go up-side-down. However, there are a number of things that you can do to ease the discomfort and preserve your sanity. Here are 10 foods that you can eat during your periods to make life better.
Drinking carrot juice during menstruation is one of the easiest ways to deal with problems during menstruation. Eating raw carrots or drinking carrot juice can help — regularise blood flow, provide relief from pain and make you feel less fatigued during those days.
Here is why eating carrots can do wonders during your periods:
It is rich in iron: During menstruation you lose a lot of blood along with the internal lining of the uterus that sheds during every cycle. Loading up on iron can help you deal with the blood loss and supplement the body with iron resources. This is one of the many reasons why carrot is thought to be good for regularising irregular periods as well.
It is rich in beta carotene: Eating foods rich in beta carotene during menstruation is good because beta carotene converts into Vitamin A which helps to minimize the blood flow and control heavy bleeding.
It helps to deal with pain: Since carrots can help to regularise both heavy bleeding and also irregular periods, it helps the cramps to become less severe during those days. Here are 10 ways to deal with menstrual pain naturally.
How to have it: •Chew raw carrot sticks when your pain becomes unbearable. •Make carrot juice with fresh carrots, wash, peel, dice and put them in the juicer. Have the drink twice a day to get relief from menstrual problems. •Add carrot to your salads or curries even if your cycle is normal during those days to boost reproductive health and beat PMS fatigue
The bottom line: Disease protection comes from getting the entire family of carotenes by eating a variety of fruit and vegetables. Researchers also theorise that the carotenes may team up with each other, and other compounds in foods, making beta carotene supplements of questionable benefit.
In summary, alpha carotene and beta carotene,
like all nutrients found in vegetables and fruit, have health benefits. Indeed,
the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. government,
states that "The antioxidant nutrients found in plant foods (vitamin C, carotene,
vitamin E, and the mineral selenium) are presently of great interest to
scientists and the public because of their potentially beneficial role in
reducing the risk of cancer and certain other chronic diseases."
Taiwanese researchers have found that certain stir-fried vegetables such as carrots, can absorb high quantities of fat. Dr. Peter Hoagland with the USDA Center in Philadelphia found that simply eating two medium sized carrots daily could reduce cholesterol levels by 10-20%. Carrots also contain a small amount of lecithin which is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels. Not only does the carrot physically resemble ginseng, but scientific and clinical studies have demonstrated that carrots provide many of the same protective and therapeutic benefits of ginseng, but at a fraction of the cost. An oxysterol in carrots inhibits the proliferation of fungus.
Ten reasons why you should eat more vegetables. Click here.
Traditional Medicinal Uses for Carrot and its seeds around the world (pdf).
Read more about antioxidants here.
NOTE: The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a replacement for medical advice from your personal physician.
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