Wild carrots have been around for millennia, but they were still considered weeds only a few hundred years ago. Fortunately, someone in China eventually figured out that the root of the carrot plant was both nutritious and delicious. By the thirteenth century, carrots were being cultivated across China and northeastern Europe.
Read on to learn why carrots are proving their worth as a kitchen staple across the globe.
They can help you grow. Carrots are exceptionally high in vitamin A, making them a great source of this essential vitamin. Vitamin A is required for normal growth and development, as well as your vision and immune system functioning. A study conducted in Egypt showed that when children who were deficient in vitamin A added carrot jam to their diets, it significantly boosted their growth velocities.
The carrot is filled with other nutrients, too. It’s an excellent source of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and bone building. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, along with fiber and potassium.
Carrot juice is good for cardiovascular health. Carotene is a carotenoid, a type of fat-soluble pigment found in plants whose health benefits were first discovered in the early twentieth century.
Carotenoids are believed to help protect the cardiovascular system because of their high antioxidant potential. According to some research, a daily glass of fresh-squeezed carrot juice can boost antioxidant activity and help lower blood pressure.
No more tummy troubles? Feeding carrots to children with acute diarrhea could help speed up the recovery process. Researchers found that foods containing carrot flour can shorten a bout of diarrhea by almost two-thirds (in four days).
New moms, take note! One study found that a diet that incorporated pureed papaya and grated carrots gave a vitamin A and iron boost to the breast milk of lactating moms.
Immunity boost. Carrots are essential for immune system function, both because of their vitamin A content and because they contain carotenoids. In one study, men on low-carotenoid diets who were given carrot juice saw a boost in immune system function.
Hungry for Carrots?
Not only do these crunchy root vegetables pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, but they’re also extremely flexible in the kitchen. For a healthy and satisfying breakfast, try making these carrot-raisin muffins, or throw in bananas and pecans with this recipe.
Carrots are also perfect in soups and stews, like this hearty apple-carrot soup and carrot-sweet potato bisque. And try this sweet and tangy Scottish recipe for vichy carrots for a holiday season side dish.