Okay, Bugs Bunny may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe his voice is a turn-off or perhaps his somewhat abrasive personality rubs others the wrong way. Then again, could it be that those with bunny phobia just can’t handle Bugs? People can argue forever over his merits and personality. What’s less debatable is his acumen when it comes to vegetables: Bugs is an unapologetic lover of carrots and he’s not alone. Carrots, a member of the Apiaceae family of flowering plants, are the sixth most popular fresh veggie in the U.S., with Americans chowing down on average almost 15 pounds of fresh and frozen carrots annually in some recent years. There’s good reason to munch through either the frozen or fresh varieties as they’re not only tasty and versatile, they’re loaded with health benefits. So, what’s up with carrots? Read on.
Of course, carrots support a healthy vision. They contain lots of vitamin A, which helps keep xerophthalmia, a progressive eye disease, at bay. This disease causes night blindness, which effectively means it is difficult seeing when light levels are low. Carrots also hold the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which together help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a type of vision loss.
Sharpens The Mind
Luteolin in carrots is a brain booster. It supports memory and helps prevent cognitive decline. Admittedly, carrots may not represent a veggie version of the Fountain of Youth, but they can certainly help keep people alert.
A balanced diet is a great way to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, which often reveals itself via low blood levels of vitamin A. Carrots with their high vitamin A content can help. They also provide a healthy dose of fiber, which can improve glucose metabolism for those suffering from diabetes.
Think carrots and most people see yellow. But there are also red, yellow, purple and white carrots. When it comes to fighting inflammation, purple carrots are a winner because they contain the most anthocyanin, a carotenoid, This pigment not only functions as an antioxidant, it can help reduce inflammation, which is a win-win when considering chronic inflammation contributes to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
Another benefit of vitamin A in carrots is that it helps protect the skin by, among other things, reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Studies note that higher consumption of beta carotene found in carrots and other vegetables reduces the rate of tooth loss, particularly in older individuals suffering from cognitive impairment. Eating carrots and related vegetables, of course, is not a substitute for proper oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing.
Antioxidants in carrots can help lower the chance of getting several deadly forms of cancer, including lung, colorectal, prostate and leukemia. One study, in fact, discovered that a high intake of carotenoid antioxidants found in carrots lowered the risk of getting lung cancer by 21 percent.
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