All you need to know about…carrots


April 4th is International Carrot Day so we thought it fitting to take a closer look at the versatile root vegetable and learn more about the nutritional benefits and history of the humble carrot.

According to historians, carrots originated as a root crop about 1,100 years ago in central Asia in what is now Iran and Afghanistan. There is some evidence that carrots may have featured in the Roman empire and wild carrots are believed to have been in existence as far back as 5000 years ago.

Carrots are high in nutritional value and rich in fibre, antioxidants, and vitamins. They derive their intense orange colour from their high levels of beta-carotene, a nutrient that is converted in the body to vitamin A. This vitamin A carotenoid is also partially responsible for the myth that carrots help you see in the dark. While research suggests that a diet rich in carotenoids supports eye health and prevents eye disease there is no evidence to indicate that it is effective in improving low-light vision above an average level. Sorry, no super night vision.

One of the most fascinating stories about carrots comes from World War 2 when the British claimed that RAF pilots were able to see well in the dark due to their consumption of carrots. In reality, they had developed secret technology to track German planes at night, but the British population embraced the story and the consumption of carrots rose.

Whilst carrots are predominately known for being a bright shade of orange they also come in a wide variety of colours and shades such as purple, yellow, red, and white. Packed with pectin, carrots are reported to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol and recent studies indicate that some of the plant compounds found in carrots may help fight against certain types of cancer.

Carrots aren’t only good for your insides; they also support healthy skin by helping repair damaged tissue and protecting the skin from the sun. They are also high in potassium which helps to keep your skin hydrated.

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