Carrots

History of Carrots
It’s said that we originated from wild roots that grew in Afghanistan which were red, black or purple in colour. It’s also thought that our ancestor was a small, tough, pale-fleshed taprooted plant which grew in the Near East and Middle Asia. Whatever the truth, we’re definitely an ancient plant. Our seed has been found in lake dwellings in central Switzerland dated at 2000 to 3000 BC. We were probably used for both food and medicinal purposes in the beginning.

Little was written about us until the 16th century, when it was noted that yellow and purple varieties were eaten in Europe. In the 17th century an orange coloured carrot was developed in Holland and further breeding occurred throughout the 18th century. We are derived from these 18th century varieties. We first came to Australia in 1788 with the First Fleet and convicts planted ‘Long Orange’ carrots on Norfolk Island just two weeks after their arrival and gathered in their first harvest in October of that year. Along with our friends the cabbages, we became an important food for the colonists.

Why Carrots Are Good To Eat
• We’re the reason why the whole family of brightly coloured compounds in foods were called carotenoids – we’re such a rich source, especially of beta carotene. Our bodies can convert beta carotene to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps with night vision - that’s why children are told to eat us so they will be able to see in the dark!
• With many vegetables cooking destroys some of their vitamins, but you can absorb more beta carotene from cooked carrots than from raw ones. If you prefer to eat us raw, that’s fine because even one of us has two day’s supply of beta carotene. Baby carrots have even higher levels.
• We’re sweetly delicious whether we’re old or young because we have some natural sugars, but younger carrots have more folate, one of the B vitamins which may help prevent birth defects in babies.
• We’re a really good source of dietary fibre
• 100g carrots has 130 kJ

Did you know?
• We were one of the earliest vegetables grown by man
• We’re related to parsley. Don’t you think that our feathery green tops look somewhat like parsley?
• In the past our leaves were used to decorate the hats of royalty
• Doctors say that we improve vision, especially at night because of our very high level of vitamin A (carotene).

Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, and contain high amount of fiber. Beta carotene is important for eyesight, skin health, and normal growth.

Carrots are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium, as well as vitamin B6, folate, and several minerals including calcium and magnesium.

Key Facts about Carrots:

  • 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.
  • 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.

http://www.wafarmtoschool.org/ToolKit/16/Carrots/Facts

Health benefits of carrots

  • Sweet and succulent carrots are notably rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber; however, they provide only 41 calories per 100 g, negligible amount of fat and no cholesterol.
  • They are exceptionally rich source of carotenes and vitamin-A. 100 g fresh carrot contains 8285 µg of beta-carotene and 16706 IU of vitamin A. Studies have found that flavonoid compounds in carrots help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Carotenes are converted into vitamin A in the liver. Beta-carotene is the major carotene that is present in these roots. Beta carotene is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidant helps protect body from harmful oxygen-free radical injury. In addition, it also has all the functions of vitamin A such as vision, reproduction (sperm production), maintenance of epithelial integrity, growth and development.
  • Carrots are rich in poly-acetylene antioxidant falcarinol. Research study conducted by scientists at University of Newcastle on laboratory animals has found that falcarinol in carrots may help fight against cancers by destroying pre-cancerous cells in the tumors.
  • Fresh roots are also good in vitamin C; provide about 9% of RDA. Vitamin C is water soluble anti-oxidant. It helps the body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps the body protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals.
  • In addition, this root vegetable is especially rich in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that acts as co-factors to enzymes during substrate metabolism in the body.
  • Further, They also compose healthy levels of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/carrots.html

 

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