Perhaps the vegetable with the most health benefits is carrots. These vegetables have been consumed by humans for centuries not all for their calorie content but also for their numerous health benefits. Carrots can be eaten alone, in a salad or cooked with other meat or vegetable dishes. However, over the past few decades, it has been realized that carrot juice may not also have the same health benefits of eating carrots but is also more refreshing and thirst quenching.
Today, many people prefer to drink carrot juice rather than eat carrots. Making carrot juice does not require any fancy equipment and only requires a few carrots. More important, one can also add other fruits and spices to the carrot juice to make it an invigorating drink. The reason why carrot juice is now rated as the top health supplement is because it is packed with minerals, like potassium, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamins (A, C, D, K), fiber, and carotenoids.
Carrots, today, can be grown in almost any country. There are several species of carrots and they vary in their content of minerals, vitamins, and taste. Carrots grown in the tropics are generally sweeter and contain more fiber than carrots grown in temperate climates. Further, carrots grown in the tropics also tend to be larger in size.
So what are the health benefits of carrot juice?
- Enhancing immunity: There is ample evidence indicating that people who drink carrot juice daily are at a much lowered risk for developing viral infections like the common cold and influenza. In addition, the carrot juice also helps prevent the common bacterial infections that commonly infect the gut. Carrot juice is ideal for people who develop bacterial food poisoning as it prevents worsening of symptoms and improves healing.
- Heart health: Because carrots are packed with antioxidants, these foods also protect the blood vessels from atherosclerosis. People who drink carrot juice tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Maintain eye health: The presence of beta-carotene and vitamin A in carrot juice is essential for adequate eye health and vision. Studies show that people who regularly drink carrot juice have a lower risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
- Lower blood cholesterol: Carrot juice can lower blood cholesterol levels gradually. This can further help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. However, it is important to avoid a high fat diet at the same time.
- Clotting. Because carrot juice contains ample vitamin K, the risk of bleeding is reduced. Thus, if you ever get injured or cut yourself, your body will prevent excessive loss of blood and also help with healing.
- Healing of open wounds: Drinking carrot juice regularly can also help close difficult open-wounds and ulcers. The reason is that carrot juice contains vitamin C, trace amount of copper and selenium, which are vital for synthesis of collagen.
- Prevents cancer: Carrot juice not only contains fiber but is also packed with vitamins and antioxidants. This helps prevent certain cancers like colon, bladder, prostate, breast, and skin. It is important to understand that carrot juice doesn’t cure cancer but can either delay or prevent the progression of cancer.
- Strengthens bone: Carrot juice is packed with calcium and vitamin D and this helps strengthen bone. This is of great benefit in postmenopausal women and seniors who tend to have weak fragile bones. To strengthen bone one needs to start drinking carrot juice at an early age.
- Lowers blood sugar levels: Carrot juice is known to lower blood sugar levels. It is believed that carrot juice promotes the burning of sugars and ‘junk’ calories which not only leads to lowering of blood sugars but also to a reduced body weight.
- Detoxification. Because of the presence of fiber and antioxidants, carrot juice also functions as a detox agent. The juice helps provide nutrition to the bacteria and helps get rid of any toxins and ‘bad’ bacteria. The extra fiber regulates bowel movements and prevents constipation.
- Aid for weight loss. Carrot juice is low in calories but also fills the stomach. This helps individuals who want to lose weight. The juice suppresses the desire to overeat because the stomach remains full. Plus, the calories supplied by carrot juice are essential and converted to protein instead of fat. However, to lose weight it is also recommended that one also exercise at the same time. Just drinking carrot juice and hoping to lose weight by sitting on the couch is not realistic.
- Relieves bloating and gas: Many people with irritable bowel syndrome develop abdominal bloating, nausea, and gas. Carrot juice helps prevent bloating by improving bowel movements. It also regulates the bowel movements so that one doesn’t develop constipation. The regular bowel emptying prevents development of bloating sensation. The high level of fiber helps eliminate the gas.
- Increased urination: Carrot juice also acts like a strong water pill and helps get rid of bodily waste products. This not only leads to lowering of blood pressure but also reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.
What are side effects of carrot juice?
In general, carrot juice is very safe to drink everyday. Some light skinned people may develop darkening of skin -this is primarily due to the pigment in carrots. This skin discoloration is a harmless condition, which resolves spontaneously. Carrot juice can also cause mild diarrhea because of its laxative effect.
How much carrot juice should one drink?
To derive the health benefits of carrot juice, it is important to drink it everyday. The carotid juice can be freshly prepared and can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days. There are many recipes for carrot juice and as long as the carrots are fresh, they all have the same health benefits.
Carrot juice has many other health benefits but it is important for the consumer to realize that one should not only rely on a single food or supplement for good health. In order to maximize the benefits of carrot juice, it is also important to eat a healthy diet, discontinue smoking and exercise regularly.