Carrot: Health Benefits and Nutritional Values

Vegetables in different forms are available in the world. Certain vegetables are globally familiar as it is available in many parts of the world. Carrot is one such root vegetables that is used or consumed by majority of people in the world in different forms for various purposes. Carrot is the most commonly used root vegetable that was domesticated from the wild form in the earlier centuries. The origin of this vegetable is believed to be in southwestern Asia particularly from Iran and Afghanistan and in Europe. Historical evidences show that the reminiscence of carrot seeds was found in the southern Germany that was old enough from 2000-3000 BC. It is believed that wild carrots were used from the 1st century onwards. The domesticated carrots were begun to be used in Afghanistan. It is scientifically classified in the Apiaceae family in the genus Daucus, species D.carota. No other root vegetables like carrots are commonly used in many places with vast regional diversity in culinary forms. It is consumed in several ways including raw and cooked form. It is used in cuisines mainly as salads. The carrot salad is some of the staple traditional form of food in many countries. It is also used in steamed, boiled, baked and fried. It is used as stews, broths, soups, curries or spicy dishes and pickles in different cuisines. The carrot chips, cakes are some of the favorite snacks made out from carrots. It is also used for several therauptic uses as it contains many medicinal properties. It is also used in many skin care and cosmetic products as it enhances the skin health.  Many researches and studies have been conducted from time to time and it is found that carrot is one of the power packed foods enriched with all vital nutrients that are beneficial for health.

The nutrient data base of USDA gives the entire data of the all vital nutrients present in this root vegetable. According to USDA, it contains calorie of 41 calories per 100 g. it has abundant source of carbo hydrates, sugars and dietary fiber. It has low fat and protein content. It contains the vitamin B complex compounds including thiamine or vitamin B1, riboflavin or vitamin B2, niacin or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid or vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate or vitamin B9, vitamin C and E. It also enriched with vitamin A, antioxidants like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. It has rich mineral content including iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc and fluoride. Though in the earlier centuries people were unaware about the scientific nutritional facts it was used as several home remedies and also a cure for ailments particularly by the gypsies in their traditional medicine.

One of the major health benefits of the carrots is its high vitamin A and beta carotene that enhances the vision and eye health. The vitamin A is transformed to a purple color pigment rhodopsin that enhances the night vision. The beta carotene reduces the muscular degeneration and senile cataracts.

The powerful antioxidants prevent the breast, colon and lung cancer. The high dietary fiber acts as an intestinal detoxifier and improves the colon health that improves digestion and prevents constipation. It also prevents the cell damage and slows down the aging of the cells and improves the metabolism. Vitamin A and E protects the skin from sun damage and other skin problems including preventing wrinkles, acnes, boils and burns. It is used as external face packs and body packs that helps to rejuvenate the dull skin. Carrots are widely used for curing several skin care problems. The carotenoids prevent cardio vascular diseases and stroke. The antioxidants and phytonutrients cleanse the body and act as powerful detoxifier. The regular intake of carrots in form is beneficial for the overall health of the body.