Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.
Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat the most beta-carotene had 40
percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little. Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating mice. The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells. Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed. Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.
Carrot oil has been known to work wonders for dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. It also has properties that reduce scarring and inflammation. Dripping carrot oil over cuts or wounds hels rid the skin of viruses and diminisheds the chance that bacyteria and tetanus will develop. In addition to hte oil, also try grating carrots and mixing in some lemon juice. Apply this mixture to your skin and leave it on for about 20 minutes to reduce inflammation.
To make carrot oil, peel two carrots and grate or shred in the food processor. Put the carrots in a crock pot. Add enough olive, almond or coconut oil to cover the carrots completely. Turn the crock pot on the lowest heat setting. Allow the carrots to cook until they are soft and the oil has an orange color. Strain the carrots out of the oil, and store the oil in a dark colored jar or bottle. For best results store in the refrigerator until needed.
Raw carrots contain 167 IU per gram while boiled carrots contain 180 IU per gram. Boiling the carrots softens the cellulose fibers and releases more of the carotene. But cooking on as low a heat as possible is advisable, and I personally prefer steaming them.
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