Carrot Root: Vitamin A Benefits
Carrot root powder is what we are talking about here, which seems initially confusing as I, like most of you, probably thought that the carrot was the root? And also, where do the vitamin A benefits come in?
First, it’s not exactly wrong - the orange carrot most people are familiar with is actually the taproot (main root) of a small, leafy plant and comes in all kinds of colours like purple, yellow and white.
And second, I mentioned the vitamin A benefits straight up because I want to emphasise that carrots are so much more than a trustworthy and versatile vegetable.
Carrots are the stalwart of vegetables, fueling herds of rabbits, showing up steamed on dinner plates or sliced into little batons in lunch boxes across the world. Cut into flowery rounds in fancy soups or plunging into an endless array of dips, this vegetable seems to be able to do it all!
Carrot also packs a nutritional punch!
In fact, carrot is the original inspiration for the name ‘beta-carotene’, an antioxidant and vitamin A precursor found abundantly in carrots. They are also cheap and readily available, the perfect go-to for a snack on the run.
Daucus carota was not a General of a Roman Army but rather the botanical name for "carrot" and comes from the Greek word "karoton”, where “kar” refers to a horn-like shape.
Carrots are related to parsnips, fennel, parsley and herbs like cumin and dill. All great for soups and stews but without the vitamin a benefits of the noble carrot.
Carrot Root: More Than Vitamin A Benefits
Now that we understand some of what carrots are actually about, it’s time to delve into the nitty gritty and find out what exactly carrot root contains that makes it so beneficial to the human body.
✔ Beta-carotene - carrot root is most famous for its beta-carotene content. Beta-Carotene converts to vitamin A. This means you get all the vitamin A benefits like better skin health, immune health, hormonal health and it may have anticancer potential too!
✔ Polyacetylenes - phytonutrients (plant chemicals) such as falcarinol and falcarindiol which may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and work together with beta-carotene to provide antioxidant support.
✔ Vitamin K1 - crucial for calcium metabolism, bone health and blood clotting. The vitamin K content of carrot root powder compliments the calcium content of Athletic Greens and may lead to better absorption.
✔ Vitamin C - a powerful antioxidant, immune enhancer, adrenal support and tissue healer.
Carrot root powder also contains calcium, B-vitamins, anthocyanidin and carotenoids such as lutein. And with the beta-carotene content it is a compliment to the vitamin A, C and E contained in Athletic Greens.
These three vitamins when combined - “ACE” - have been linked to so many health benefits, most notably cancer prevention and heart health.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (an antioxidant “recycler”) also contained in Athletic Greens can help the benefits of the “ACE” combo last even longer.
Thanks to all of these beneficial compounds, carrot root powder may be useful in the treatment and prevention of:
It was found that a higher intake of deep orange fruit and vegetables, especially carrots, may protect against coronary heart disease.
This may equate to a 32% lower risk! Plus, carrot consumption has also been associated with a reduced chance of heart attacks in women.
With high levels of beta-carotene and other antioxidants, carrot root has been studied for potential anticancer benefits - with promising results.
Research shows that smokers who eat carrots more than once per week had a reduced risk of lung cancer, and beta-carotene is associated with lower incidence of colon, lung and prostate cancer.
Even though our mothers told us carrots would improve our vision, few conclusive studies exist to support carrot root’s benefits for eye health.
With the presence of pigments known to support the eye, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, plus the conversion of beta-carotene to give you all the vitamin A benefits - a vital nutrient for eye health - it’s certainly a possibility.
Preliminary research also suggests a link between carrot root consumption and lower incidence of glaucoma and cataracts.
Studies in mice show that carrot root can help protect the liver from environmental toxins.
Carrot root extract may defend against foodborne pathogens such as E.coli and Golden Staph.
Carrot root is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, important for maintaining digestive health, supporting gut flora and reducing the risk of colon cancer - though unfortunately there is currently a lack of scientific studies in this area.
Vitamin A Benefits Aside, Will I Turn Orange?
Too much carrot root can lead to carotoderma - a build up of carotene in the skin, turning it an orangey colour (sometimes mistaken for fake tan!).
This is usually temporary, harmless, and returns to normal once carrot consumption is reduced, but hey if it’s good enough for the President?
However, when taken in the powdered form and included in Athletic Greens this is not an issue. The prescribed dosage of 100-500mgs a day is sufficient to grab all of the vitamin A benefits and other advantages without looking like an Oompa loompa.
Carrot root powder receives most attention for its antioxidant properties, and rightly so. The high levels of carotenoids, vitamin C and other antioxidant precursors and compounds make it brilliant for our general well being as we age, and lord knows we could all use a bit of help with that!
It’s exploits in the fields of cancer prevention and cardiovascular health (the most well-studied benefits) to the possible protection for the eyes, liver and the gut are becoming more widely known and well reputed.
No doubt as time goes on more light will fall on the many amazing benefits of natural foods and the powders we derive from them. And at some point in the future we will have conclusive evidence to prove all that we have speculated about.
So when Bugs Bunny asks “What’s up Doc?” the Doc may well reply “Nothing Bugs, as long as you keep eating those carrots!”.