Bugs Bunny loves carrots, and many people do too – it’s one of the most popular and versatile vegetables there is, raw, cooked or juiced. People have consumed them in their myriad of forms for centuries. While you probably know them as being good for your vision, carrots actually offer a wide range of benefits – and, they come in colors other than orange too, like purple, red, white and yellow.
1. Supporting eye health
The most well-known benefit of carrots and carrot juice, is to support good eye health, thanks to its beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin content. In fact, without beta-carotene, a number of eye diseases can develop, such as macular degeneration or even blindness. A deficiency of vitamin A is the number one cause of preventable blindness across the globe. Both zeaxanthin and lutein help to lower your risk of vision loss related to age.
A study out of the Jules Stein Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles showed that women who consume carrots at least twice per week – in comparison to women who consume carrots less than once per week – have dramatically lower rates of glaucoma, while consuming geranyl acetate, which is one of the phytonutrients in carrot seeds, has also been repeatedly linked with a decreased risk of cataracts in animal studies.
The great news is that these benefits are derived from both eating carrots and consuming carrot juice.
2. Reducing the risk of heart disease
Drinking carrot juice can keep your heart healthy too, for multiple different reasons, thanks in part to vitamin A, which helps to prevent the onset of heart disease and stroke, particularly in women. Research has found that it helps by reducing oxidative stress while strengthening the body’s immune system. Carrots also impact good cholesterol directly, thanks to its potassium content, further decreasing the risk of heart problems.
Even beyond that, the vitamin C in carrots also benefits your heart’s health, as it lowers your risk of developing coronary heart disease as well as dying from it, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin K brings benefits to your heart too, as it activates a protein known as Gas6, a substance believed to promote cellular communication, including within the heart cells. It also helps control blood clotting, which can negatively affect the heart.
3. Protecting against cancer
Carrot juice serves as an anti-cancer agent. The high level of carotenoids in carrot juice is believed to reduce the instance of bladder, prostate, colon and breast cancers. One particular study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona in Tucson, found that women who had a history of breast cancer and drank a cup of fresh carrot juice each day for three weeks had increased levels of protective antioxidant carotenoids in the blood which reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which help protect against the growth of cancer.
Studies have demonstrated that the antioxidants in carrots may be able to battle leukemia cells as well. In 2005, researchers at Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development found that rats that were fed raw carrots had a one-third lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
4. Boosting immunity
Juicing carrots provides one with a concentrated form of all the veggies essential nutrients to help boost the immune system. In addition to protecting against free radical damage, it protects against excess inflammation, harmful bacteria, and viruses.
This is due to a number of nutrients in carrots, including vitamin A. The skin and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract form barriers to prevent germs and viruses from entering the body – it’s vitamin A that helps to maintain those barriers by keeping the cells healthy and functioning properly as well as aiding in the growth of white cells. Without enough vitamin A, the immune system becomes weaker and is subject to a great risk of developing the disease.
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