There are many people in the world who believe that carrots are very high on the list of ultimate health foods. Carrots were first cultivated thousands of years ago and yet their true value continues to be a source of confusion for many people. There are those who think if seniors were only to eat one main vegetable, that their first choice should be carrots. How are carrots healthy for seniors, and is it true they turn your skin orange?
A BIT ABOUT THE CARROT
As far as most people are concerned, carrots have always been orange, but that’s a long way from being true. The early carrots were white, yellow, red, or purple. If it wasn’t for the Dutch developing the orange carrot in the 16th and 17th centuries’ carrot would probably still be multi-colored.
That being said, you can still find carrots in a variety of colors.
No one knows for sure if the different colors made carrots taste different or not, but most likely they tasted pretty much the same as they do today. A good example might be potatoes.
Yellow flesh potatoes have become very popular and yet there isn’t a huge difference in taste from any other potato. Some people claim there is a bit of a buttery flavor, but almost everybody puts butter on their potatoes anyway so how can you be sure?
There are also purple-fleshed potatoes from South America, but they also taste much like an ordinary potato. So most likely. The flavor of carrots hasn’t changed that much over the centuries’ regardless of what color they are.
So is what so many mothers said to their kids true? “If you eat your carrots you will be able to see in the dark.”
It’s not very likely that carrots will do much for you as far as seeing in the dark, but many studies have shown that the vitamin A in carrots might very well help prevent vision loss.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARROTS
There is a lot of hard evidence that diets rich in fruits and vegetables, like carrots, can go a long way to reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Many doctors are big supporters of the Mediterranean Diet. If you
look at the general health of the cultures that have practiced the Med Diet for centuries’ you will see that there is a marked decrease of cancer and heart problems as opposed too much of the world.
A big part of the Med Diet antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, including carrots, so maybe there’s something to it.
After all, carrots are very rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
CARROTS AS A CANCER FIGHTER
There was a woman diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in June of 2012. She decided against chemotherapy and felt better, but five months later a follow-up CT scan discovered cancer had metastasized to her lungs. Her doctor predicted a two or three-year life expectancy.
As the story goes, she began juicing five pounds of carrots a day with a yield of just over a liter of juice that she drank throughout the day. About a year later her cancer was gone.
Personally, I find it hard to believe because for years we have been told that radiation and chemo was the only way to cure the disease. However, she chose not to have either. You can read the story for yourself about people who have beaten cancer with carrots and decide for yourself if you want to believe it or not.
Actually, citing carrots as a cancer fighter is nothing new. It seems that diet, in general, has a lot to do with preventing cancer. Here is an article from the website Medical News that lists 30 of the best cancer-fighting foods, with carrots near the top of the list.
A 2011 study found that carrot juice and carrot juice extract could kill leukemia cells and inhibit their growth. It’s also believed that consuming greater amounts of beta-carotene could well lower the risk of colon cancer. This according to researchers who studied 893 subjects in Japan.
There was a meta-analysis published back in 2008 that found that people who had a high intake of carotenoids had a lower risk of lung cancer by a remarkable 21 percent as opposed to those who did not.
Whether a diet of mostly carrot juice will kill cancer cells or not, if all else was failing and my life was on the line, I would be ready to give it a try. My reasoning would be, what would l have to lose if cancer was going to kill me anyway?
Of course, this is in no way meant to mislead people or act as medical advice, but often when enough people make the same claim about any subject there is some shred of truth involved.
That being said, people should eat healthy diets whenever possible, because good nutrition can, in fact, ward off a number of health issues. It’s no secret that a poor diet can lead to obesity, diabetes, and a host of easily preventable diseases.
Check out Health Line for more information on the benefits of Carrot Juice.
You might also gain some knowledge of carrots as a cancer fighter from the book CURING CANCER WITH CARROTS by Ann Cameron.
CARROTS AND VISION
Okay, so maybe you won’t have a cat-like vision in the dark, but carrots can in a way help you see better all the time, including in the dark.
Carrots contain large amounts of Vitamin A and that’s the secret to improved vision by was of carrot consumption.
If people have a Vitamin A deficiency, it can lead to a disease called xerophthalmia. It’s a progressive eye disease that can damage a person’s normal vision and as a result, can cause night-blindness.
In essence, it can result in an inability to see in low light or darkness.
This goes a long way to explaining why for years parents told their kids they would be able to see in the dark if they ate their carrots. They were partially correct.
The National Institutes of Health claims that a lack of vitamin A intake is one of the main preventable causes of blindness in children. It should be noted that most people are unlikely to notice a change in their vision from the consumption of carrots unless they already lack Vitamin A.
CARROTS AND DIABETES
Carrots have antioxidants and phytochemicals that can be an immense help in regulating blood sugar.
Many diets will suggest people avoid carrots because of all the vegetables, carrots seem to have more sugar. The truth is, around a quarter of the carbohydrate in carrots is sugar.
It should be noted however that overall, the amount of carbohydrates in carrots is relatively small.
Harvard Health claims the glycemic index of carrots is 39, meaning the impact on blood sugar levels is really fairly low. That being the case, it appears the benefits of carrots when it comes to preventing diabetes outweighs any negative dietary impact.
CARROTS AND BLOOD PRESSURE
If you were to look at the nutrients in carrots you would find that a half-cup serving of chopped carrots contains, 1.8 grams of fiber and 205 milligrams of potassium.
In the years before 50, men require an average of 38 grams of fiber per day, and women need 25 grams. As they age beyond 50, men require 30 grams, and women 21 grams per day.
Most health authorities advise people to consume less sodium(salt) and to keep their intact around 2300 milligrams per day. That’s not a lot, yet many people go crazy with the salt shaker and are way over this amount.
On the other hand, the recommended daily intake of potassium is 4700 milligrams or twice the amount of sodium. Yet, many people continue to consume too much sodium and too little potassium, which is the exact opposite of what they should be doing.
The American Heart Association not only recommends a fiber-rich diet, but they also recommend increasing potassium and decreasing sodium. This will help protect from against high blood pressure and heart disease.
Carrots are a great choice because they offer the ideal balance of these nutrients. Actually, we can get all the sodium we need from the food we eat, and it’s totally unnecessary to add even more.
All you have to do is look at the ingredients list of most processed food you buy. Salt is usually right near the top of the list.
IS IT WORTH IT TO EAT CARROTS?
If you look at all the studies on this remarkable vegetable it’s hard to find a reason for not making them a regular part of your diet.
The benefits of carrots seem to be much greater if eaten raw, al dente, or juice as opposed to cooking. Like with most foods, overcooking has a way of destroying the valuable nutrients.
If there is even the smallest chance that carrots can improve vision, and help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease why not make them the cornerstone of your daily diet?
It seems there is very little to lose and everything to gain.
ALSO READ: BEST DIET FOR SENIORS