Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Vegetable Of The Week - Carrots

The wild ancestors of the carrot are likely to have come from Iran and Afghanistan, which remains the centre of diversity of D. carota, the wild carrot. Selective breeding over the centuries of a naturally occurring subspecies of the wild carrot, Daucus carota subsp. sativus, to reduce bitterness, increase sweetness and minimise the woody core, has produced the familiar garden vegetable. - The Wildflower Key 

In early use, carrots were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds, not their roots. Some relatives of the carrot are still grown for these, such as parsley, fennel, dill and cumin. The first mention of the root in classical sources is in the 1st century. The modern carrot appears to have been introduced to Europe in the 8–10th centuries. The 12th century Arab Andalusian agriculturist, Ibn al-'Awwam, describes both red and yellow carrots; Simeon Seth also mentions both colours in the 11th century. Orange-coloured carrots appeared in the Netherlands in the 17th century. - A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece 

Health Benefits: 
Falcarinol is a phytochemical that protects carrots from different types of fungal diseases. - Carrot Museum 

Falcarinol is thought to reduce the risk of developing cancer, as a research team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Danish Universities found in February 2005 in a study on rats. Research by the scientists showed that laboratory rats fed on a diet containing raw carrots or on isolated falcarinol were a third less likely to develop full-scale tumours than those in a control group. - Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Carrots are exceptionally rich source of carotenes and vitamin-A. 100 g fresh carrot contains 8285 mcg of Beta-Carotene and 16706 IU of Vitamin A. - Nutrition & You 

Adequate levels of Vitamin A are required for fertility and reproduction to occur. After conception, vitamin A regulates the timing for embryonic cells to mature, becoming specialized organ cells.- Marni Wolfe 

Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer. British researchers discovered that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams a day reduced lung cancer risk more than 40 percent. The average carrot contains about three milligrams of Beta-carotene. - Organic Facts

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