The power of carrots

By: Travis Durick

 The carrot (Daucus carota) has been a popular vegetable worldwide for centuries. It appears to have originated in the country that is now Afghanistan approximately 5,000 years ago, although it did not have the same distinct orange color that it possesses today. Throughout time carrots have appeared in several different colors including: purple, green, white, red, black, and pale yellow. OrangeBlack Carrotwas never a naturally occurring color. The creation of today’s bright orange carrot is credited to 16th century Dutch farmers. The color orange was isolated by crossing red and yellow carrots. This new color was created to nationalize the Dutch carrot. Unknowing to the farmers this orange color is caused by one of the plants most beneficial substances, beta carotene. However, purple carrots contain up to twice as much beta carotene as orange carrots do. There has been a recent movement to reintroduce the purple carrot onto the US market; in England one has already been introduced.

Purple Carrot
Red Carrot
White Carrot
Yellow Carrot
Orange Carrot


The carrot possesses a plethora of beneficial properties. Most people have been told that carrots will help your eyesight, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Carrots contain pectin, a substance that is known to help lower cholesterol. U.S. Department of Agriculture studies suggest that eating two carrots a day can lower your cholesterol by 10-20 percent. Carrot oil has been used in Europe for decades as an ingredient in baby oil, lip balm, and body lotions because of its skin improving qualities including: softening, firmness, and reduced acne. Carrots contain high amounts of beta carotene, an antioxidant vitamin. When digested, beta carotene is turned into vitamin A. Our body can only process the equivalent of about one 8oz glass per day; the excess is stored as beta carotene in the skin. Beta carotene helps protect humans from cancers of the bladder, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, prostate, breast, and lungs. Beta carotene also benefits the liver and kidneys. Regular carrot consumption can help flush the liver of bile, and fats, and helps the kidneys dispose of other contaminants. This can help fight the ill effects of alcohol consumption. Carrots have also been linked to lowering the occurrence of heart disease by reducing clotting of blood, and blood pressure. Carrots also lower blood sugar, which can be helpful in fighting diabetes. Carrots help to improve vision in a few ways, first it increases low light vision, and color vision. They also help prevent macular degeneration and cataract development. Carrots are also thought to benefit fertility (both male and female) and increase sex hormone levels. Carrots are very good for the digestive system. They help to line the intestinal tract, and reduce bacteria growth within it. They also help alleviate diarrhea, vomiting, and colic in babies.