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Carrots are undoubtedly one of the most nutritious vegetables you will find in your kitchen. The richness of its color is well complemented with the several macronutrients and micronutrients that this vegetable carries. Carrots are enriched with fiber, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, potassium and vitamins which cumulatively make it a healthy food choice for all. In addition to the minerals and nutrients stated above, carrots are also a rich source of antioxidants that adds to its many health benefits.

The pigments that give carrot its characteristic orange color, beta-carotene, is also very healthy. After entering the human system, beta-carotene molecules are converted into vitamin A molecules. In addition to its conversion into vitamin A, beta-carotene also serves the purpose of an antioxidant and helps repair cellular damage caused by increased oxidative stress in the body.

Prominent health benefits of eating carrots include improved cardiac health, reduced cholesterol levels, better vision, prevention of pre-mature aging, boosting the immune system and detoxification of the body.

Carrots are filled with nutritive richness that plays a pivotal role in improving health.

Carrot Consumption And Hypertension Management

Being a rich source of potassium makes carrots a good dietary choice to manage optimal blood pressure values. The sodium present in the carrot facilitates muscular function by causing vasodilation and helping the muscles to relax. Including carrots in the daily diet can help fight plague buildup in the arteries which consequently result in atherosclerosis, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack in case of plague rupturing.

A study published in American Journal of Physiology further validated this association when low dietary potassium intake was found to have an inverse relationship with blood pressure values.[1] Low potassium diet in hypertension patients was measured at 16mmol /day, which caused high systolic and diastolic pressures. On the contrary, increasing the potassium intake to 96 mmol/day correlated with reduced systolic and diastolic pressures.

Carrot Consumption And Heart Health

As we learned previously, the antioxidant properties and high bioavailability of potassium in carrots make it useful for maintaining optimal health. In the presence of free radicals, the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol molecules are oxidized, in addition to oxidation of plasma cells that are destined to die. Both the processes lead to the plague buildup in the arteries. However, these deleterious effects of free radicals in the human system are neutralized by the antioxidants present in carrots. Similarly, the presence of potassium ensures optimal blood pressure levels which help the heart pump blood normally. In addition to these heart health advantages, carrot consumption also improves cardiac health. A study published in the journal Nutrition specifically mentioned the benefits of carrots when it came to protecting the cardiovascular system. [2]

Another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that cholesterol metabolism is regulated by carrot consumption in rats. In a 3 week long experiment, it was observed that the presence of vitamin C, polyphenols and carotenoids in carrots gave it the antioxidant properties along with significantly influencing the lipid metabolism in the subjects. [3] Consuming carrots led to the reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the liver. Lipid absorption in the body is also reduced.

Carrot Consumption and Cancer Prevention

The antioxidant properties of carrot play an integral role in giving this vegetable its anti-cancer properties. As several types of cancers are triggered by oxidative stress, DNA damage and disrupted cellular pathways, the effects are counteracted by antioxidants. Supporting this notion, a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found a significant relationship between carrot consumption and reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. However, experts believe that more studies are warranted to better understand the cancer protective effects of carrots. [4]

Other Health Benefits associated with Eating Carrots

Eating carrots has long been associated with improving eye sight due to its vitamin A reservoir. Vitamin A helps in improving vision in dim lights and preventing vision problems such has night blindness. In addition to this, it also helps in preventing age related macular degeneration. Vitamin C in the carrots help in fortifying the body since that leads to the synthesis and proliferation of white blood cells to fight out pathogenic infections.

Eating carrots is also good for maintaining oral health. The bioactive components present in carrots trigger increased saliva production in the mouth. As saliva is alkaline in nature, it prevents bacterial growth and helps against the development of different oral diseases.

Due to the low glycemic load of carrots, they can be eaten by people who suffer from diabetes or who have a risk of developing diabetes. Carotenoids in carrots also help in regulating glucose metabolism and maintaining optimal insulin levels for reducing the risk of diabetes in non-diabetes people and managing diabetes in diabetes patients. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that carotenoid levels is inversely proportional to the fasting plasma glucose concentrations and insulin resistance, suggesting that the presence of carotenoids in the blood stream reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. [5]

Furthermore, the high fiber content of carrots also helps in maintaining optimal digestive tract health and reduces digestive problems such as constipation. Therefore, carrots should be consumed regularly in any possible form without destroying its nutritive richness.

References

  1. Haddy, F. J., Vanhoutte, P. M., & Feletou, M. (2006, March 01). Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure. Retrieved March 02, 2017, from http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/290/3/R546.long#sec-5
  2. Potter, A. S., Foroudi, S., Stamatikos, A., Patil, B. S., & Deyhim, F. (2011). Drinking carrot juice increases total antioxidant status and decreases lipid peroxidation in adults. Nutrition Journal, 10(1). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-96
  3. (n.d.). Springer Klinisches Wörterbuch, 909-1007. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-34602-9_11
  4. Nicolle, C., Cardinault, N., Aprikian, O., Busserolles, J., Grolier, P., Rock, E., . . . Rémésy, C. (n.d.). Effect of carrot intake on cholesterol metabolism and on antioxidant status in cholesterol-fed rat. Retrieved March 02, 2017, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-003-0419-1
  5. Ylönen, K., Alfthan, G., Groop, L., Saloranta, C., Aro, A., & Virtanen, A. S. (2003, June 01). Katriina Ylönen. Retrieved March 02, 2017, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/6/1434.short
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