Carrot (Daucus Carota L.)
Carrot (Daucus carota L.) is an important crop from the family Apiaceae. It is a root vegetable that is cultivated world-wide. Carrot is used as food and as medicine due to its high content in antioixdants and vitamins. A rapid rise in the popularity of orange carrots was observed with the recognition of its high pro vitamin A content.
Carrots are a good source of dietary fiber and of the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum aids in metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and is important for absorption of iron. It is also a good source of magnesium and manganese. Magnesium is needed for bone, protein, making new cells, activating B vitamins, relaxing nerves and muscles, clotting blood, and in energy production. Insulin secretion and function also require magnesium.
Manganese is helpful in carbohydrate metabolism, in coordination with enzymes in the body. Manganese is also used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Potassium and magnesium in carrots help in functioning of muscles.
Carrots contain vitamins such as vitamin C and K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6) and folates (B9), necessary for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy growth. Vitamin C promotes the absorption of non-heme iron and is required for fighting infections and vitamin K helps preventing bleeding. Thiamin (B1) has highly beneficial effects on our nervous system and mental attitude; riboflavin is necessary for cell respiration, and red blood cell formation. Pyridoxine inhibits the formation of homocysteine and reduces the risk of heart disease; and folates may reduce the risk of heart attack by lowering homocysteine.
Carotenoids and anthocyanins are the major antioxidant pigments found in carrots. The root vegetable is also rich in α- and β-carotene which are rich sources of pro vitamin A. Yellow carrot contains lutein which plays an important role in the prevention of macular degeneration. kaempferol, quercetin and luteolin are flavonoids which are also abundant in carrots. They are also rich in phenols including chlorogenic, caffeic and p- hydroxybenzoic acids along with numerous cinnamic acid derivates. Carrots also possess bioactive polyacetylenes, such as falcarinol and falcarindiol which has a positive effect on the cancer fighting mechanisms in the human body.
- Carrots contains antioxidants which help neutralize to effect of free radicals.
- They help in reducing the risks of cancer including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer etc.
- Carrots modulate immune response of the human body.
- Carrots also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
- Carrots help to protect vision, especially night vision and also provides protection against macular degeneration and development of senile cataract, the leading cause of blindness in aged people.
- Carrots also have anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive properties.
- The carrot also helps in protecting the liver from acute toxicity injury.
- The carrot root possess antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The nutritional, therapeutic and health benefits of carrots are enormous. 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. Consumption of the root vegetable as a snack or in foods has immense benefits to the consumer.
- Dias Silva, J.C (2014) Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 5(22):2147-2156.
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276499931_ Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts [accessed Mar 20 2022].