What is a Carrot?
The carrot is a plant with a thick, ﬂeshy, deeply colored root that grows underground and feathery green leaves that emerge above ground. It is known scientiﬁcally as Daucus carom, a name that can be traced back to ancient Roman writings of the third century B.C.E.
Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named after the umbrella alike ﬂower clusters common to plants in this family, including parsnips, parsley, fennel, and dill. There are more than a hundred different varieties of carrot that vary in size and color.
Carrots can be as short as 2 inches/5 cm or as long as 3 feet/ l meter, ranging in diameter from 1/2 inch/1 cm to over 2 inches/ 5 cm. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet, minty, aromatic taste, while the greens are fresh-tasting and slightly bitter. While carrots are generally associated with the color orange, they also grow in a host of other colors, including white, yellow, red, and purple, the last being the color of the original variety.
Carrot Plant History
Carrots are believed to have originated in the Middle East and Asia. The earlier varieties were not orange but mostly purple and black. Apparently the modern-day carrot was originally a mutant variety lacking certain purple or black pigments. In pre-Hellenic times, a yellow-rooted carrot variety appeared in Afghanistan; it was further cultivated and developed into an earlier version of the carrot we know today. Both types of carrots spread throughout the
Mediterranean region and were adopted by the ancient Greeks and Romans for medicinal uses.
The carrot did not become popular in Europe until the Renaissance, however, probably due to the fact that the early varieties had a tough, ﬁbrous texture. By the 1600’s several different types of carrots had been developed, including the orange-colored carrot, which had a more appealing texture.
Carrots were introduced into North America by European colonists. As a sign of its heightened popularity in the early 1800’s the carrot became the ﬁrst vegetable to be canned. The world’s largest producers of carrots today are the United States, France, Britain, Poland, China, and Japan.
Parts Of A Carrot
The roots of certain vegetable crops are important as food. Roots typically originate from the lower portion of a plant or cutting. They possess a root cap, have no nodes and never bear leaves or flowers directly. The principal functions of roots are to absorb nutrients and moisture, to anchor the plant in the soil, to furnish physical support for the stem, and to serve as food storage organs. The purpose of a root is to anchor the plant to the ground and to absorb water and nutrients diagrams below. Examples of typical carrot root shapes here.
Plants have two different types of transport tissue: the Xylem (core) transports water and solutes from the roots to the leaves, and the Phloem (flesh) transports food from the leaves to the rest of the plant. Transpiration is the process by which water evaporates from the leaves, which results in more water being drawn up from the roots. The majority of the carotenoid content is contained in the Phloem (outer flesh).
The tapcommon root type of carrot root system develops from the hypocotyl with secondary lateral roots branching from the xylem. Together, the hypocotyl and the tap root form the ‘Carrot Root’. At the center of the root is the light coloured and more woody xylem surrounded by the deep orange and sugar loaded phloem.
The periderm skin is composed of suberin and other waxy substances. Optimum root growth occurs at 60-70°F. Temperatures into the 50’s will affect the colour development and favour longer, more slender roots.
They are found in many colors, including yellow, white, orange, red and purple.
Purple Carrot Nutrition
These carrots are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and vitamin K. There is a low level of calories – only 25 calories per cup – and only 5 grams of carbohydrates. When it comes to antioxidants, however, purple carrots have a good lutein and beta-carotene content.
White Carrot Benefits
White Carrot Nutrition
White Carrots have a number of health benefits. They are a weight loss friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health. The carotene antioxidants in them have also been linked to reduced risk of cancer.
Red Carrot Vs Orange Carrot
The orange carrots also get their bright color from beta-carotene which varies slightly from the red carrots. The red carrots definitely have extra antioxidant pigments naturally. But orange carrots too loaded in vitamins A, E and K. It also contains the eye healthy antioxidants lutein and lycopene.
Wild carrot is a member of the family once named Umbelliferae – so called because their flowers are arranged into a flat umbrella-like head or umbel (the modern name of Apiaceae refers to the Greek for celery). Carrot can be identified from other common members of this family because the bracts fringing the umbel are three forked.
Wild carrot flowers from June to September, most flowers being off white but quite often with a small central group or a single central flower of a dark red. Once flowered the umbel folds inward, clearly showing the forked bracts, and the developing head of seed becomes concave. The whole structure has a distinctive ‘bird’s nest’ appearance which can be present throughout winter.
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Baby Carrot / Mini Carrots
A baby carrot is a carrot sold at a smaller size before reaching maturity. A baby-cut carrot is a small piece cut from a larger carrot; baby-cut carrots are often marketed as “baby carrots”, leading to potential confusion.
Baby Carrots Nutrition
- Total Fat 0.3g
- Saturated fat 0.1g
- Monounsaturated fat 0g
- Polyunsaturated fat 0.2g
- Sodium 191.9mg
- Potassium 583mg
- Carbohydrates 20.3g
- Net carbs 13.1g
- Sugar 11.7g
- Fiber 7.1g 29%
- Glucose 2.6g
- Fructose 2.5g
- Sucrose 6.7g
- Protein 1.6g
Vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin A 1697.4μg
- Vitamin A IU 33923.4IU
- Vitamin B6 0.3mg
- Vitamin B12 0μg
- Vitamin C 6.4mg
- Vitamin D 0μg
- Vitamin D IU 0IU
- Vitamin K 23.1μg
- Calcium 78.7mg
- Iron 2.2mg
- Magnesium 24.6mg
- Phosphorus 68.9mg
- Zinc 0.4mg
- Copper 0.2mg
- Manganese 0.4mg
- Selenium 2.2μg
- Retinol 0μg
- Lycopene 0μg
- Thiamine 0.1mg
- Riboflavin 0.1mg
- Niacin 1.4mg
- Folate 66.4μg
- Choline 18.5mg
- Betaine 0.2mg
- Water 222.3g
- Tryptophan 0g
- Threonine 0.1g
- Isoleucine 0.1g
- Leucine 0.1g
- Lysine 0.1g
- Methionine 0g
- Cystine 0g
- Phenylalanine 0.1g
- Tyrosine 0g
- Valine 0.1g
- Arginine 0.1g
- Histidine 0g
- Alanine 0.1g
- Aspartic acid 0.3g
- Glutamic acid 0.4g
- Glycine 0.1g
- Proline 0.1g
- Serine 0.1g
Carrot Nutritional Information
The carrot provides the highest source of pro-vitamin A carotene of the commonly consumed vegetables. Two carrots provide roughly 4,050 retinol equivalents, or roughly four times the RDA of vitamin A. Carrots also provide excellent levels of vitamin K, biotin, and ﬁber and very good levels of vitamins C and B 6, potassium, and thiamine. A 100 gram serving of carrots provides 41 calories with 9.6 grams of carbohydrate as 4.5 grams of sugars and 3 grams of ﬁber.
Vitamin C in a Carrot
Carrots provide vitamin C too. This antioxidant nutrient plays an essential role in the production of the tissues that make up your blood vessels, bones, teeth, gums, muscle and skin. It also supports immune system function and helps your body absorb the iron in beans, grains and other plant-based foods.
According to the USDA, a cup of chopped, raw carrots supplies about 13 percent of the daily value for vitamin C. Because the water-soluble vitamin is degraded by heat, however, cooked carrots are about 40 percent lower in vitamin C than the raw variety.
Carrot Vitamin A Content
Carrots don’t actually contain vitamin A, but they’re an excellent source of beta-carotene, the antioxidant carotenoid that your body can convert into vitamin A. This fat-soluble nutrient is important to immunity, organ function, eye health and visual acuity – it helps your eyes adjust in dimming light.
One cup of raw, chopped carrots provides about 50 calories and 430 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cooked carrots are an even more concentrated source, with about 530 percent of the recommended daily value per cup.
Carrots are also an excellent source of vitamin K. Although your body can manufacture this fat-soluble nutrient from bacteria in your gut, you still need a small amount each day to protect against deficiency. Vitamin K is mainly required for blood to clot, but it’s also thought to play an important role in building and maintaining healthy bones. A 1-cup serving of raw chopped carrots provides 21 percent of the daily value for vitamin K, while a serving of cooked carrots delivers closer to 27 percent of the recommended daily value.
Including carrots in your diet will boost your intake of several important B vitamins. While these water-soluble nutrients are primarily responsible for helping your body convert carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy, they’re also involved in other processes – vitamin B-6 helps assemble amino acids into proteins, while thiamine supports nerve and brain function. A 1-cup serving of raw, chopped carrots provides 9 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-6 and 6 percent each of the daily values for thiamine, niacin and folate. As you might expect, cooked carrots are slightly lower in B vitamins.
Carrot Sugar Content
One, large carrot — 7 1/4 to 8 1/2 inches long — contains roughly 3.4 grams of sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. A half cup of sliced, cooked carrots has 2.69 grams of sugar.
Carrot Fiber Content
Baby food carrots are more concentrated, with 0.7 grams of fiber in 1 ounce, or 5.6 grams in a 1-cup portion. A cup of carrot juice, however, holds only a paltry 1.9 grams of dietary fiber. Continuum Health Partners lists carrots as one of the top 20 high-fiber foods in the American diet.
Carrot Protein Content
The amount of protein content in 1 cup serving size of raw, chopped carrots is approximately 1.1 g, whereas 100 g of raw carrots yield 0.6 g proteins. As far as protein in baby carrots (raw) is concerned, serving 85 g of the same gives 0.5 g protein. In short, baby carrots and matured carrots contain nearly the same amount of proteins. The proteins, isolated from carrots, are not of high quality or complete protein type. In other words, these root vegetables do not provide all the essential amino acids that we require to ensure normal functioning of the body processes.
Calories In One Large Carrot
Carrots are high in fiber and a single medium carrot contains only 25 calories. But calories in carrots can add up quickly if you add dip and eat them mindlessly. There are 6 grams of carbs per medium carrot and 3 grams of sugar, more than many other vegetables.
Health Benefits of Carrot
Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds that help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. In one study that examined the diets of 1,300 elderly persons in Massachusetts, those who had at least one serving of carrots and/ or squash each day had a 60 percent reduction in their risk of heart attacks compared to those who ate less than one serving of these carotenoid-rich foods per day.
High carotene intake has been linked with a 20 percent decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer and up to a 50 percent decrease in the incidence of cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Extensive human studies suggest that a diet including as little as one carrot per day could conceivably cut the rate of lung cancer in half.
Carrots also promote good vision, especially night vision. In fact, beta-carotene, which is present in high levels in carrots, provides protection against mascular degeneration and the development of senile cataracts—the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
- Carrot juice is perhaps the most popular juice prepared in home juice extractors. Its sweetness blends well with other vegetables.
- Lightly steamed carrots are delicious on their own.
- Grated carrots can be added to many fruit salads, such as chopped apples, raisins, and pineapple; chopped or sliced carrots can be added to vegetable salads.
Nutritional Value Of Carrot Juice – Carrot Juice Benefits
Vitamins B and Vitamin K
Carrot juice is also richer in minerals than a raw carrot. A cup of carrot juice has 41 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K, a nutrient that helps your blood clot properly, while a carrot gives you about one-tenth of the vitamin K you need daily. Carrot juice also provides 39 percent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin B-6, 20 percent for thiamine and 12 percent for riboflavin, while a carrot gives you less than one-fifth as much of each of those B-vitamins.
Carrot juice provides more than twice the amount of minerals a raw carrot provides. Each cup of carrot juice contains about one-seventh of the potassium and phosphorus you should get daily, benefiting your nervous system and bone health. It also has one-tenth of your recommended daily intake for magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in muscle contraction, and 6 percent of the bone-strengthening calcium you need each day. A raw carrot has less than 5 percent of your daily requirement for each of those minerals.
Benefits Of Fresh Carrot Juice
A cup of carrot juice has 94 calories, with 2.24 grams of protein and 1.9 grams of fiber. A raw carrot is much less energy-dense, with 30 calories and 0.67 gram of protein; however, it has 2 grams of fiber, making the two equals in fiber content. Carrot juice has 9.23 grams of natural sugar, while a carrot has 3.41 grams. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, a raw carrot can give you appetite-satisfying bulk with fewer calories.
Carrot Antioxidant – Carrots are a valuable source of antioxidant vitamins, which benefit your immune system and help prevent premature aging. A cup of carrot juice gives you more than one-fourth of your daily requirement for vitamin C and half the vitamin E you need daily, while a raw carrot provides 5 percent of the vitamin C and 3 percent of the vitamin E you need each day.
Carrot juice also gives you 2,256 micrograms of vitamin A, more than three times your recommended daily intake for that important antioxidant. A carrot, with 601 micrograms of vitamin A, provides 86 percent of your daily requirement.
Advantages Of Carrot – Advantages Of Eating Carrot
- Healthy Eyes
You can retain that 20/20 vision by adding carrots to your diet because they contain crucial nutrients that help with their maintenance and development. These include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are essential to eye health. Lack of just one of these can cause concerning eye problems. Such an example includes macular degeneration and blindness due to a lack of beta-carotene while the remaining nutrients are required to prevent any loss of vision during old age.
Unknowing to the benefits that they provide, many people put aside the crunchy vegetable not knowing what they’re missing out on. One of them includes antioxidants that carrots are filled with. Constant oxidation can lead to weak organs, which are caused by the harmful effect of roaming radicals. These radicals don’t stop at weakening the organs because they can wreak havoc on your immune system as well. So make sure to eat carrots regularly to avoid cell mutation, protect your DNA and prevent different types of cancers.
- Healthy Heart
Ensure your heart stays healthy and you live longer by having an adequate intake of carrots. Research shows that women who eat more orange colored vegetables lower their risks of developing heart diseases. Other studies show that carrot juice can have a neutralizing effect on the damage caused by oxidation so it helps the body defend itself against the dangers of cardiovascular disorders. Carrots also have a remarkable cholesterol reducing capacity, which is an added benefit. The reason behind lowered cholesterol is that carrots influence and increase bile production, which assimilates fat deposits in our body. Lowering cholesterol is highly important, especially for people who have a family history of heart disease, so don’t forget to add carrots to your next meal.
- Healthy Teeth And Gums
It’s a nutrient powerhouse and their components are highly effective in improving immunity against the bacteria that enter the body through our mouth. These deadly toxins can cause the worst of dental problems such as tooth decay and bleeding gums by taking shelter in our mouths. The essential minerals in carrots have microbial properties to prevent bacteria growth and tooth decay. Carrots have the amazing characteristic of being able to remove stains and plaque that appear after having a meal. The fiber contained in carrots also acts as a cleaning tool while it travels through the gut and cleans the insides.
- Wound Treating Ability
It have the ability to treat wounds, which comes from the presence of beta-carotene that is required to heal them. Long ago, carrots were used as the main kind of poultice, which was applied to wounds to treat them. You can test this benefit yourself by taking a diet rich in carrots after getting a scrape or cut and notice the speedy recovery.
- Improves Brain Health And Cognitive Functions
It have a positive impact on our neural capacities and benefit the brain by shielding it against symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This is because of the antioxidants such as beta-carotene that carrots contain because of which can reduce the effects of radicals to boost your health.
- Fight Cancer
Research shows that an intake of foods that contain carotenoids can have an effect on lowering risks of cancer. The antioxidants in carrots are the real reason behind this finding because they are better at fighting against leukemia cells while also reducing your overall risk of developing cancer in the future. Studies have observed these effects on adult women who have a family history linked to breast cancer and found that drinking healthy amounts of carrot juice daily helped in protecting their tissues from developing any cancerous cells.
- Better Digestion
It contain great amounts of fiber that is crucial to the digestion process because the body’s system simply cannot expel waste materials without it. A lack of fiber in the diet can lead to constipation and even hemorrhoids, which can be severely painful, so an intake of carrots is necessary to prevent it from happening. The fiber in carrots adds bulk to the body’s waste material and helps it pass through the system with ease.
- Keeps You Young
It contain antioxidants that are crucial to protect the body against the symptoms of early aging. Free roaming radicals can make a mess of our body’s tissues because they weaken and age the body. These consequences are neutralized by the beta-carotene present in carrots, which reverse the effects of aging to help you feel younger and more active. The collagen in carrots is highly essential for the epidermal tissue which eventually becomes the outer skin. Collagen helps it retain the elasticity typically associated with youthful skin.
- Healthy Hair and Skin
The vitamin A found in carrots can help protect our skin cells against damage by the sun’s harmful UV rays. They also help the skin remain supple and soft because it prevents dehydration, which can take a toll on your skin. You can also improve the appearance of your skin using a face mask that is prepared by adding some honey. This will make your skin appear more youthful and bright. The presence of Vitamin C in carrots also contributes to the glowing skin you will experience after applying the face mask. Furthermore, they can help in regenerating your skin and hair cells to battle any hair fall or skin issues.
- Lower Risk of Developing Diabetes
Scientists at many renowned research facilities have found astonishing results regarding the effect of carrots on blood sugar levels and future risk of diabetes. Their findings showed that people who had higher chances of developing Type-2 diabetes can reduce their risk by regularly consuming foods that contain beta-carotene. This establishes carrots position as a diabetic-friendly and preventative food.
Is Raw Carrot Good For You?
Raw carrots are good for you. There is no danger besides, as Phil said, of choking. Eat too many of these or other healthy fruits and vegetables, however, and you get Carotenaemia.
What Part Of The Carrot Do We Eat
When we eat radish or carrot, we are eating roots. Potatoes grow underground, but the part we eat is not a root. It is a an underground stem called a tuber.
- Just one medium carrot or a handful of baby carrots counts as one serving of your daily veggies.
- Orange carrots are a great source of beta-carotene. Carrots contain a group of plant pigments called carotenoids, and beta-carotene is a member of this group. These plant pigments were first identified in carrots and therefore their name was derived from the word carrot.
- Our bodies turn beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for good health, especially for your eyes. Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is good for your bones, teeth, vision, and your skin.
- Purple carrots contain purple pigments called anthocyanins, which act as anti-oxidants that protect the body.
- Carrots are a good source of fiber, which is good for the health of your digestive system.
- Washington ranks first in the nation in production of processing carrots and fourth in the nation in production of fresh carrots.
- A baby carrot isn’t exactly a baby. Baby carrots come from a large carrot that has been rolled over blades and thrown around in a metal cage to be rubbed down to a short, round-ended baby carrot.
- Americans eat, on average, 10.6 lbs. of fresh carrots per person per year.
- Carrots have a higher natural sugar content than all other vegetables with the exception of beets. This is why they make a wonderful snack when eaten raw and make a tasty addition to a variety of cooked dishes.
Uses Of Carrot
- Eye Health The vitamin A in carrots naturally promotes proper functioning of the retina for optimum eye health.
- Compost Booster Leftover carrot pulp adds a great dose of moisture and nutrients to compost.
- Carrot Smoothies Carrots add vibrant color and a good dose of vitamin A when added to smoothies. Mix with orange juice for delicious flavor.
- Pasta Alternative Use a vegetable peeler or spiralizer to create tender carrot noodles for a low-calorie and gluten-free pasta alternative.
- Slows Down Aging The high amounts of beta carotene in carrots are brimming with antioxidants which are good for slowing down the aging process.
- Healthy Skin The vitamin A and antioxidants in carrots work to protect skin from sun damage, premature wrinkling, acne and uneven skin tone.
- Pregnancy Health Nutrients in carrots work to regularize fetal development, reduce the chance for fetal infections and miscarriages.
- Burn Relief Process raw, grated carrots and apply directly to burns for an all-natural pain relief.
- Antibacterial Mouth Wash Chewing on a carrot following a meal kills germs in the mouth for better oral health.
- Male Fertility Booster High levels of beta-carotene in carrots have been found to improve sperm motility.
How To Eat A Carrot
- With Hummus
Because carrots are incredibly rich in fiber, giving you nearly 4.5 grams from three 5 1/2-inch carrots weighing 150 grams, by pairing them with protein-loaded hummus, you’ll have just the right combination to curb your appetite for the afternoon. Pack yourself a 1/4-cup side of hummus along with your carrot sticks. You’ll get a total of just 160 calories, for a snack with 6.5 grams of protein and over 8 grams of total fiber.
- As a Steamy Side
You can steam carrots atop of other foods you’re already cooking on your stove. For example, if you’re boiling pasta, place a veggie or bamboo steamer right on top of your heated pot of water. As your other food item is cooking, so will your carrots. You don’t need a stove to steam up carrots, though. Just place diced or baby carrots in a shallow bowl, add a few drops of water and cover with a moist paper towel.
- Microwave your carrots until they’re tender enough for you to enjoy. The reason steaming is such a healthy way to cook is because you’re not adding any fat to your veggies during the cooking process. Additionally, because you won’t expose the carrots to heat or water for too long, as you would if you boiled them, you won’t lose as much of the valuable water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C.
- Roasted to Perfection
Rather than plain old baked french fries as a side for your entree, roast up some carrot sticks. Cut your carrots into thin even pieces, resembling fries. Lay the carrot strands out on a hot baking sheet, drizzle with a touch of heart-healthy olive oil and place under the broiler in your oven. You’ll need to rotate the carrot sticks frequently to ensure even cooking, but when they’re done, you’ll have a sweet, nutrient-filled alternative to fries.
- As a Puree
If you or someone in your family isn’t a fan of carrots, you can puree them and be a bit sneaky. Simply steam your carrots until they’re fork-tender. After they’re cool, pile them into your food processor with a small amount of water. Puree the carrots thoroughly, forming a thick, evenly consistent paste.
- You can add that carrot puree to your favorite marinara sauce, meatloaf recipe, ground turkey patties, side of brown rice or even stir a few scoops into your morning oatmeal. You’ll get a touch of added sweetness as well as the beneficial fiber and nutrients carrots have to offer, without having to actually munch on a carrot stick.
Tips for Preparing Carrot
- Wash carrots under cold running water and gently scrub them with a vegetable brush. If then carrots are not organically grown, deﬁnitely peel them. The same is true if they are a bit old or cracked. If the stem end is green, it should be cut away, as it will be bitter. Carrots can be left whole, julienned, grated, shredded, or sliced into sticks or rounds depending upon the need or your personal preference.
- Though carrots are delicious when eaten raw, cooking actually enhances the bioavailability of their beta-carotene by breaking down the ﬁber and making it easier for the body to utilize the beta-carotene.
- 1 pound carrots, coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, mashed or minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Pinch of salt
- About 1/2 teaspoon harissa (Northwest African chili paste), 1 tablespoon minced green chilies, or
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days to allow the flavors to meld and permeate the carrots. Served chilled or at room temperature.
- Carrots can be added to baked goods, such as carrot cakes and mufﬁns, soups, casseroles, and other recipes.
- To make spiced carrot sticks, soak 2 cups carrot sticks in 2 cups hot water with ‘/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, and salt. Soak until cool, drain, and serve.
- For a quick, nutritious soup that can be served hot or cold, purée 2 cups boiled carrots, 1/2 cup celery, 1 roasted onion, and 1 tea- spoon ginger in a blender or food processor. Add ‘/4 cup olive oil and enough vegetable stock and thin to a creamy soup. Season with other herbs and spices to taste.
Roasted Carrots Recipe
Honey Glazed Carrots
Food Value Of Carrot
Vitamins and Minerals. Carrots are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A (from beta-carotene), biotin, vitamin K (phylloquinone), potassium and vitamin B6. Vitamin A: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Read more.
Is Carrot A Fruit? – Although they have a subtle sweet taste, carrots are still considered veggies. Although tomatoes are typically touted as a vegetable, the juicy red orbs are technically a fruit — which might leave you wondering about the other brightly colored plant foods nestled in your refrigerator.
Red Carrots contain more lycopene than other varieties, and have a pinkish red to purplish red outside layer with a core of pink to orange. One cultivar, called Beta-Sweet, is a cross between a western and an eastern carrot. Red carrots are usually sweeter than regular carrots. Cultivars of red carrots include Beta-Sweet, Atomic Red, and Red Samurai.
Cultivated carrots originated in the Afghanistan region and were yellow and purple. From this center of domestication carrots were grown as a root crop to the East and West with the incorporation of several characteristics contrasting those two geographic regions. The Eastern carrot spread to central and north Asia and then to Japan.
Red coloured carrot is typical for India and also was introduced to Japan. In contrast, Western carrot type is characterized initially by yellow and later by orange root colour. This carrot type spread to West and now dominates in Europe and America. Carrot is rich in pro-healthy antioxidants both of lipophylic (carotenoids) and hydrophilic (phenolic compounds) characters.
Although carotenoid content varies considerably among carrot genotypes, usually orange carrots contain high amounts of α- and β- carotene; yellow carrots contain lutein, the red colour of carrots is due to lycopene, while polyphenol substances, mostly anthocyanins are typical for purple roots. Carrots of Asian origin belonging to Eastern gene pool are more often purple or red and richer in phenolics and have higher antiradical activity than those from the Western gene pool with mainly orange roots.
The colour of yellow, orange and red carrots is the result of certain carotenoid pigments present in the root. These carotenoids can be divided into hydrocarbon pigments or carotenes and oxygenated pigments or xanthophylls. Red carrots contain a natural pigment calledlycopene, (another form of carotene) a pigment also foundred and orange carrots size in tomatoes and watermelons; lycopene is associated with the reduced risk of macular degeneration, serum lipid oxidation, helps prevent heart disease and a wide variety of cancers including prostate cancer.
Originally from India and China. Red carrots contain the pigment known as lycopene which has been associated with a lowered risk of prostate cancer in men and heart disease. It also helps maintain healthy skin. Red carrots are often referred to as “Pakistani” carrots, and often found in the Asian supermarkets in the UK.
Enjoying red carrots with a healthy fat source can help increase absorption since lycopene is fat-soluble. Cooking lycopene-rich vegetables can also increase the amount of lycopene that you absorb because the cooking process frees the pigment from the cell walls of the plant. Lutein, an antioxidant, is also found in red carrots, higher than orange but slightly less than yellow carrots. This is one of the hydroxy carotenoids that make up the macular pigment of human retinas.
Consuming foods high in lutein may increase the density of this pigment and decrease the risk for developing macular degeneration, an age-related disease and the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. (Lutein is also found in green leafy vegetables) Red carrot cultivars also contain α-carotene, β-carotene, and lutein, the amounts varying by type of red carrot.
In a study to determine humans’ lutein uptake from lutein-rich yellow carrots, Simon, along with UW’s Sherry Tanumihardjo, recruited nine 23- to 28-year-old volunteers to eat the carrots and take a lutein supplement. By reading the participants’ blood serum levels, the researchers found that lutein from the carrots was 65 percent as bioavailable as it was from the supplement.
Tanumihardjo, an assistant professor in UW’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, says, “While other foods might contain higher levels of lutein – like spinach for instance – lutein is absorbed very well from lutein-rich carrots.” The lutein study appeared in the July 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
How to Select and Store Carrot
Carrots are available throughout the year. The inspection of carrots begins with how they look; avoid carrots that have cracks, are bruised, or have mold growing on them. The carrots should be deep orange in color and fresh-looking. If the tops are not attached, look at the stem end and ensure that it is not darkly colored, as this is also a sign of age. Next, evaluate the physical characteristics; avoid carrots that are limp or rubbery. The carrots should feel hard, crisp, and smooth.
Since carrots are efficient at maintaining their water content, they will keep longer than many other vegetables. To maximize storage time, store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel. This will reduce the amount of condensation that is able to form. Stored this way, carrots will stay fresh for up to two weeks.
If carrots are purchased with attached green tops, the tops should be cut off before storing in the refrigerator, as if they remain attached they will pull moisture from the roots and cause the carrots to wilt prematurely. The carrot tops will need to be used right away, as they are quite fragile and wilt quickly.
Carrots should be stored away from apples, pears, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, since this gas will cause them to become bitter.
Carrot Leaves Benefits
The leaves of carrot ARE considered edible and are highly nutritive, rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. They contain 6 times the vitamin C of the root and are a great source of potassium and calcium.
Negative Effects Of Carrot
Carotene are stored in adipose tissue, the liver, other organs (the adrenals, testes, and ovaries have the highest concentrations), and the skin. Ingesting large quantities of carotene can lead to a yellowing of the skin known as carotenodermia. This occurrence is not serious; in fact, it may be beneﬁcial in protecting against sun damage to the skin. Sometimes carotenodermia is not directly attributable to dietary intake or supplementation, as it may be indicative of a deﬁciency in a necessary factor in the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A, such as Zinc, thyroid hormone, vitamin C, or protein.
The ingestion of large amounts of carrots or carrot juice –0.45 to 1 kilogram of fresh carrots per day for several years-has, however, been shown to cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells, as well as menstrual disorders. Although the blood carotene levels of these patients did reach levels (221 to 1,007 micro-grams per deciliter) similar to those of patients taking high doses of beta- carotene (typically 800 micro-grams per deciliter), the disturbances have been due to some other factor in carrots, as neither of these effects nor any others have been observed in subjects consuming very high doses of pure beta-carotene equivalent to 4 to 8 pounds/2 to 4 kilograms of raw carrots per day over long periods of time.
Since carrots are among the foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found, we recommend choosing carrots grown organically.
Plant your carrots in rows that are 1 to 2 feet apart is the best way how to grow carrots. Seeds should be planted about a ½ inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. When growing carrots in the garden, you’ll wait for your carrot plants to appear. When the plants are 4 inches high, thin the plants to 2 inches apart. You may find that some of the carrots are actually large enough to eat. Thin the carrots regularly to 4 inches apart.
When growing carrots in the garden, make sure to plant, per person, five to ten feet of row to have enough carrots for table use. You will get about one pound of carrots in a one foot row. You want to keep your carrots free of weeds when growing carrots in the garden. This is never more so than when they are small. The weeds will take nutrients away from the carrots. This will cause poor carrot development. They grow continuously after you plant them. They also don’t take too long to mature. You can start the first crop in mid spring after threat of frost has passed and continue to plant new seeds every two weeks for continuous harvest through the fall.
Harvesting of the carrots can begin when they are finger size. However, you can allow them to stay in the soil until winter if you mulch the garden well. To check the size of your carrots, gently remove some dirt from the top of the root and check the size of the root. To harvest, gently lift the carrot from the soil.
Factors affecting root shape and size
The shape and size of carrot roots are influenced by soil type, temperature etc. branching in carrot due to hereditary, and presence of under composted organic matter or injury to the cap root system or check in heavy soil at lower temperature. Roots are longer and slender at 13 to 20 0 C than at higher temperature. High temperature and irregular results in rough root surface. Temperatures above 20°C will cause shorter, thicker roots with a stronger flavour, but less sugar. During flower initiation, the hypocotyl crown shrinks as carbohydrates and water content is shifted to support flower development and the overall root diameter becomes slender.
Management of plant spacing and density influences root size distribution within the crop. Carrot root shape at harvest is principally determined during the crop establishment phase. Factors that influence the rate of growth of the taproot during early plant development determine the length and shape of the root at maturity. The final length of the carrot appears to be determined during the early growth phase, with conditions promoting rapid taproot growth and initiation of secondary growth down the length of the root resulting in greater potential root length.