If you spend much time surfing the web or reading magazines looking at diet plans or ways to improve your health via nutrition, you've probably come across the term superfood. This is a marketing tactic used by the food industry to imply certain foods are nutritionally superior and have amazing health benefits.
Most nutrition experts don't bandy about the word superfood, as they know no single food, no matter how nutritionally dense it may be, provides everything the human body needs. However, this does not change the fact that some foods are packed with nutrients and play an important role in a healthy diet.
Do you remember being told to eat your carrots as a child? Turns out, they are indeed good for you. Here is everything you need to know about the humble carrot.
What Nutrients Do Carrots Have?
Carrots and their juice are high in potassium and Vitamin A, B1, B6, and K. Carrots are also high in dietary fiber, which can help lower blood sugar and encourages regular bowel movements.
Their leafy green tops are edible as well. In fact, according to the virtual World Carrot Museum - which devotes itself to all things carrot - the greens may be even more nutritious than the root itself. For example, the greens are believed to contain 6x as much Vitamin C as the root. Here is a closer look at each of the nutrients in carrots:
The human body takes the beta carotene in carrots and turns it into Vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy eyesight and immune system. Vitamin B6 helps your body convert food to energy. Vitamin K supports blood clotting and bone health. Potassium helps normalize blood pressure and keeps your heart beating. Biotin is important for metabolizing protein and fat. Vitamin B1 metabolizes glucose, converts carbohydrates into energy, and supports muscle and heart function. Vitamin C is necessary for the growth and repair of all body tissues and supports immune system function. It also aids in iron absorption.
What Are the Health Benefits of Carrots?
Most people know that carrots are good for your eyes. Vitamin A forms with another substance in your body to help prevent night blindness and is necessary for color vision. Regularly consuming carrots can help your eyes as they age, offering protection from cataracts and macular degeneration. Carrots offer other health benefits as well.
Carrots Promote Dental Health
Chewing on a raw carrot acts as a natural toothbrush. Carrots also stimulate saliva production, which helps to prevent plaque and scrub away leftover food residual in the mouth.
Carrots Promote Healthy Skin
Aging skin is often dull and dry. In addition to beta carotene, carrots contain antioxidants and retinoic acid. These substances protect against sun damage and promote healthy skin. You can even use carrot juice topically to help reduce acne and mitigate dry skin.
Carrots Protect Your Heart
Cardiovascular disease is extremely common and a leading cause of death. A study found consuming just a half-cup of carrots daily substantially reduced the development of cardiovascular disease.
Carrots Protect Against Cancer
Smokers who don't eat carrots have three times the risk of developing lung cancer. People who consumed fiber-rich carrots regularly also had less incidence of colon cancer. Men who ate a lot of carrots enjoy reduced prostate cancer risks.
Carrots Help Your Body Detox
Carrots produce substances that support liver health by reducing fat storage in the liver and bile production. This allows your liver to better flush harmful toxins from your body.
How Can You Include More Carrots in Your Diet?
Are you struggling with figuring out how to eat and what foods are best for you? Contact us today to schedule a nutrition counseling appointment. We will tailor a personal food and lifestyle plan that is right for you and your nutritional goals.