Carrots 101: Know Your Carrots Better
Have you ever felt motivated to eat carrots-well, apart from mimicking the Bugs Bunny? Probably, not. Despite the satisfying crunchiness, the carrots have never been those dying-to-eat types of vegetables.
But, hey, what if I were to tell you that these orange-colored root vegetables are highly nutritious and beneficial for human health? Well, you may not crave for carrots, but you will certainly feel motivated to add a few in your meal when you get to know about their amazing health benefits. These vegetables, filled with nutrients, can reduce heart problems, enhance your vision, and even help in weight loss.
Do you want to learn more? Well, then read this comprehensive article to know your carrots better!
Types of Carrots
Did you know that all orange-colored carrots are not the same? Typically, there exist five categories based on the physical characteristics of the carrots. So, while staring at a basket of orange carrots, do not consider them identical.
Here are the primary types of carrots that you can find in a market:
- Imperator: Long and fibrous, the imperator carrots are the classic ones, which have a tapered end.
- Nantes: These are similar to the imperator ones, but have a more rounded bottom. Nantes carrots have a comparatively sweeter flavor.
- Chantenay: You will find Chantenay carrots to be short and stout.
- Mini/ Radish-style: These ones are small and may be either cylindrical or round.
- Baby-cut: Baby carrots have become quite popular. These are a smaller version of a grown carrot.
Carrots are one of the low-glycemic foods, which means they rank low on the Glycemic Index. To fully understand what this statement means, let us first understand the Glycemic Index. It is an index that ranks foods according to the rise in glucose levels they bring immediately after consumption.
Carrot ranks low, which means it does not provide an immediate boost of energy after consumption. Its metabolizing is much slower. Although this proves to be of great benefit to a diabetic patient, it’s not the same for people who have complex digestion issues. Like everything else, this attribute of carrots has its own pros and cons.
About 10 percent of an average raw carrot comprises carbs, including:
- Simple sugars
They contain very low amounts of protein and fats. To have an idea of this low, consider a 100-gram carrot. Only 0.9 grams of this will contain protein and 0.2 grams fat, which again is both good and bad. Learn more about complete health benefits in the later section of this article.
In terms of fiber, carrots offer both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers include pectin, which slows down the digestion process of sugar and starch. It also feeds the bacteria in your guts, thus improving health. Cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose are some examples of insoluble fibers that enhance bowel movements and eradicate the risk of constipation.
Also, carrots also provide Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K1, Biotin, and Potassium in abundant amounts. Similarly, this vegetable provides a good amount of plant compounds, including carotenoids, beta-carotene, and lutein.
Health Benefits of Carrots
Now, coming to the part: how do carrots benefit us in any way? Well, on an honest note, the list is endless. But let us look at a few prominent health benefits of this eye-candy and crunchy vegetable:
Reduces Risk of Heart ProblemsAs low-glycemic food, carrots do not contribute to rising glucose levels. Consequently, there’s no significant rise in cholesterol levels as well. Thus, protecting the heart from several diseases and problems such as heart attack.
- Reduces Risk of Cancer
Since carrots are rich in carotenoids, they protect the human body from developing the following kinds of cancer:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Colon cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Lung cancer
Although research is still due in carrot’s role in preventing some types of these cancers, a collective opinion of medical experts rules in favor of the consumption of carrots, thus, it’s best to take care than be sorry.
- Enhances Vision
As mentioned earlier, carrots happen to be rich in Vitamin A, which enhances vision and reduces the risk of night blindness.
There’s a myth about carrots that goes like; carrots can reverse or restore lost eyesight. Well, this may not be the best piece of news for you, but that’s not true. Carrots can enhance and slightly help you have a good vision but cannot restore what’s lost.
- Aids in Weight Loss
Since carrot is a low-calorie food, it reduces further intake of calories. Thus, assisting a health-friendly diet. Or, more accurately, a weight-loss diet.
Beware of these downsides!
Usually, the carrots get considered safe to eat. While examining its nutrient profile, there was hardly anything that may cause an adverse effect. However, for some, carrot consumption may not be entirely safe.
Carrots contain certain proteins that are also present in pollen and may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Some may feel itching in the mouth or swelling in the throat. So, beware of the carrots if you’re sensitive to birch pollen or mugwort pollen.