Serial Trainer











{July 30, 2008}   the amazing carrot!

The urban legend that says eating large amounts of carrots will allow one to see in the dark developed from stories of British gunners in World War II who were able to shoot down German planes in the darkness of night. The legend arose during the Battle of Britain when the RAF circulated a story about their pilots’ carrot consumption as an attempt to cover up the discovery and effective use of radar technologies in engaging enemy planes. It reinforced existing German folklore and helped to encourage Britons – looking to improve their night vision during the blackouts – to grow and eat the vegetable. [ excerpt from wikipedia ]

Selecting good quality carrots: They will be firm, smooth-skinned, straight-shaped and well-colored. Try to find some with no blemishes. The deeper the orange coloring of the carrot, the higher the beta carotene content.

Serving size 1 medium (78g)
Calories 40
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 50mg
Total Carbohydrate 9g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Protein 1g

% of U.S. RDA
Vitamin A 330%
Calcium 2%
Vitamin C 8%
Iron 0%

Low-calorie, Low-fat, Low-sodium, High in Vitamin A, Cholesterol-free.Health Benefits

Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, and the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots’ antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision.

Carotenoids and Heart Disease

When six epidemiological studies that looked at the association of diets high in carotenoids and heart disease were reviewed, the research demonstrated that high-carotenoid diets are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. 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% reduction in their risk of heart attacks compared to those who ate less than one serving of these carotenoid-rich foods per day.

Better Vision

Beta-carotene helps to protect vision, especially night vision. After beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the liver, it travels to the retina where it is transformed into rhodopsin, a purple pigment that is necessary for night-vision. Plus beta-carotene’s powerful antioxidant actions help provide protection against macular degeneration and the development of senile cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

Carotenoids and Optimal Health

Carrots are by far one of the richest source of carotenoids-just one cup provides 16,679 IUs of beta-carotene and 3,432 REs (retinol equivalents), or roughly 686.3% the RDA for vitamin A. High carotenoid intake has been linked with a 20% decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer and an up to 50% 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. Remember the study in which heavy long-term cigarette smokers were given synthetic beta-carotene, and it did not appear to prevent them from developing lung cancer? Well, not only is synthetic beta-carotene not biochemically identical to the real stuff found in carrots, but scientists now think that carrots’ protective effects are the result of a team effort among several substances abundant in carrots, including alpha-carotene-another, less publicized carotenoid. A recent National Cancer Institute study found lung cancer occurence was higher in men whose diets did not supply a healthy intake of alpha-carotene.

Carotenoids and Blood Sugar

Intake of foods such as carrots that are rich in carotenoids may be beneficial to blood sugar regulation. Research has suggested that physiological levels, as well as dietary intake, of carotenoids may be inversely associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.

Falcarinol in Carrots Promote Colon Health

Although best known for their high content of beta carotene, carrots also contain a phytonutrient called falcarinol that may be responsible for the recognized epidemiological association between frequently eating carrots and a reduced risk of cancers.

Falcarinol provides protection against colon cancer, suggests a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Three groups of laboratory animals in whom precancerous colon lesions (aberrant crypt foci) had been chemically-induced were fed a standard diet, one supplemented with freeze-dried carrots naturally containing falcarinol, or one supplemented with an extract of falcarinol. After 18 weeks, precancerous lesions in the animals given diets containing carrots or falcarinol were much smaller than those in the control animals, and far fewer of the lesions had grown in size or progressed to become tumors.

Promote Lung Health

If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, then making vitamin A-rich foods, such as carrots, part of your healthy way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University.

While studying the relationship between vitamin A, lung inflammation, and emphysema, Richard Baybutt, associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State, made a surprising discovery: a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

Baybutt’s earlier research had shown that laboratory animals fed a vitamin A-deficient diet developed emphysema. His latest animal studies indicate that not only does the benzo(a)pyrene in cigarette smoke cause vitamin A deficiency, but that a diet rich in vitamin A can help counter this effect, thus greatly reducing emphysema.

Baybutt believes vitamin A’s protective effects may help explain why some smokers do not develop emphysema. “There are a lot of people who live to be 90 years old and are smokers,” he said. “Why? Probably because of their diet…The implications are that those who start smoking at an early age are more likely to become vitamin A deficient and develop complications associated with cancer and emphysema. And if they have a poor diet, forget it.” If you or someone you love smokes, or if your work necessitates exposure to second hand smoke, protect yourself by making sure the World’s Healthiest Foods rich in vitamin A (carrot’s beta-carotene is converted in the body into vitamin A) are a daily part of your healthy way of eating.

Description

Carrots? The favorite food of Bugs Bunny hardly needs a description for they are well known and loved by even the youngest children in many countries. Carrots benefits are legendary. Bet your mother told you that eating carrots would keep your eyesight bright.

While we usually associate carrots with the color orange, in fact, carrots grow in a host of other colors including white, yellow, red, or purple, the latter being the color of the original variety. The carrot is a plant with a thick, fleshy, deeply colored root, which grows underground, and feathery green leaves that emerge above ground. It is known scientifically as Daucus carota, a name that can be traced back to ancient Roman writings of the 3rd century.

Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family, named after the umbrella like flower clusters that plants in this family produce. As such, carrots are related to parsnips, fennel caraway, cumin and dill. There are over 100 different varieties that vary in size and color. Carrots can be as small as two inches or as long as three feet, ranging in diameter from one-half of an inch to over two inches. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste, while the greens are fresh tasting and slightly bitter.

History

The carrot can trace its ancestry back thousands of years, originally having been cultivated in central Asian and Middle Eastern countries. These original carrots looked different from those that we are accustomed to today, featuring deep purple coloring, ranging from lavender to deep eggplant. This coloration was a reflection of the anthocyanin phytonutrient pigments these carrots had. In pre-Hellenic times, a yellow-rooted carrot variety appeared in Afghanistan and was further cultivated and developed into an earlier version of the carrot we known today. Both types of carrots spread throughout the Mediterranean region and were adopted by the ancient Greeks and Romans for their medicinal use.

It seems that carrots did not become a popular vegetable in Europe until the Renaissance. This was probably related to the fact that the early varieties had a tough and fibrous texture. Centuries later, beginning in the 17th century, agriculturists in Europe started cultivating different varieties of carrots, developing an orange-colored carrot that had a more pleasing texture than its predecessor. Europeans favored the growing of this one over the purple variety, which was and still is widely grown in other areas of the world, including southern Asia and North Africa. Carrots were subsequently introduced into the North American colonies. Owing to its heightened popularity, in the early 1800s, the carrot became the first vegetable to be canned. Today, the United States, France, England, Poland, China and Japan are among the largest producers of carrots. [ obtained from The World’s Healthiest Foods ]

Recipe for Carrots obtained from [ here ]

Carrots cooked with orange juice, chicken broth, allspice, ginger and lemon peel.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups diagonally sliced carrots
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Preparation:

Directions for spiced carrots
In a medium saucepan combine carrots, orange juice, chicken broth, allspice, ginger, and lemon peel. Bring to a boil. Stir in sugar, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Spiced carrots serves 6.

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John says:

Great piece on carrots, anyone want to know more? carrots in art and history, the true story of baby carrots. The fuel of the future and fishing rods made out of carrots!! and more …..

http://www.carrotmuseum.com



Free Chat says:

I agree to some extent. I do enjoy reading your blog though. First time I posted, but I’m a lurker for sure!
I would agree with the entire post except maybe the second paragraph.



serialtrainer says:

I’m not sure what you don’t agree with on the second paragraph lol.



have been following your site around several days. really like what you posted. btw i am doing study concerning this subject. do you happen to know other great websites or maybe forums where I can find out more? thanks in advance.



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