The Amazing Health Benefits of Carrots
As part of our ongoing series on the remarkable benefits of the many ingredients we use in Urban Kitchen soups, we’re going to take a look at carrots. These little orange veggies find their way into so many dishes, but it’s not all about their crunchiness and taste. Carrots have a lot to offer when it comes to your health as well.
There’s an urban legend that tells us that carrots help you to see better in the dark. While that may not be true, carrots do offer plenty of benefits to your eyes thanks to the nutrients they contain. Specifically, carrots are a great source of lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, all of which boost eyesight and protect against various ocular disorders.
Beta-carotene is particularly important. A type of vitamin, it protects against the sort of ocular degeneration that could eventually lead to blindness. Happily, a single cup of chopped carrots contains four times the amount of beta-carotene you need during the day.
Reducing Your Cancer Risk
Several studies suggest that carrots may lower your risk of contracting various forms of cancer, including lung, colon, and breast cancer.
It comes down to a substance called falcarinol, which carrots produce naturally as a means to protect their roots from the effects of various fungal disease. Few other vegetables produce this substance, so carrots may be your best source for it. Studies have shown that falcarinol reduces the risk of cancer by a third in rats, and it likely has the same effect on humans.
Plenty of Antioxidants
If you’ve come across the term antioxidant before, you already know just how important these little molecules are to your body. They help slow the spread of free radicals, which contribute to everything from speeding up the signs of ageing, through to the exacerbation of several chronic conditions.
Beta-carotene is the magic ingredient again, as this contains antioxidants, as well as plenty of vitamin A. Carrots also contain vitamin C, which is another antioxidant. Together, this compounds and molecules stave off inflammation, and reduce your risk of contracting cancer.
We all need to get out into the sun to enjoy a nice blast of vitamin D, but too much exposure can cause skin damage. The antioxidants and vitamin A in carrots do a cracking job of protecting your skin against this sun damage, and it also improves the health of your hair and nails.
Examples of sun-based skin damage include a heightened susceptibility to acne, wrinkling, and unsightly blemishes.
A Healthier Heart
As a general rule for life, any orange vegetables or fruits are good for your heart. Carrots are no different, and it’s partly due to those antioxidants again, which reduce the amount of stress your heart undergoes when pumping blood around your body.
Better yet, carrots help your body to produce the bile it needs to break fat down, which also helps to lower your levels of bad cholesterol.
So those are the many benefits of carrots. Why not get your daily dose with the Urban Kitchen Carrot and Coriander Soup?