While many of us are unfamiliar with the purple carrot, its roots date back thousands of years to the early beginnings of the vegetable we now know and love. While the purple carrot may be the forerunner in the carrot world, it is still widely undervalued. This is a shame because this darker shade of carrot is highly nutritious and promotes many healthy benefits to consumers. It is also widely becoming more popular as substitute for chemical and synthetic coloring as the purple of this carrot makes a natural dye product.
Carrots are marketed for a variety of health reasons such as the beta-carotenes that naturally occur in them. Purple carrots display all of the health benefits of the orange carrots we are familiar with including better vision, brighter skin, and are a great source of Vitamin A. The beta-carotenes and phytochemicals in carrots have proven to reduce cancer risks. Phytochemicals that occur in all carrots are chemicals found in plants that have a multitude of positive benefits including anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The beta-carotenes in purple carrots are actually double as compared to what you will find with other carrot varieties.
Purple carrots have the added benefit of anthocyanins that are naturally bred in purple carrots and are great antioxidants. Antioxidants work to protect the body’s cells from free radicals which are unstable molecules with potentially destructive side effects. Anthocyanins are antioxidants and they give many vegetables their red, purple, and blue coloring. In fact, purple carrots have 28 times more of these anthocyanins than an orange carrot. Growers love purple carrots because they are easier to grow and produce than other antioxidant-rich produce like blueberries. Anthocyanins were put to the test in 2007 and lab-based results indicated that these pigments were helpful against a variety of health concerns including cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases and bacterial infections. Of the many biological enhancements, anthocyanins include anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antimicrobial properties. The anti-carcinogenic power of the purple carrot has been tested to help against cancer, strokes, heart disease and even diabetes. Unfortunately, the human body can only absorb so much anthocyanins so it is best to keep your servings of purples carrots small and not overdo it.
The roots of these carrots can also be used to promote health. The roots have been used to treat intestinal parasites, constipation, indigestion and tonsil issues. In ancient times, the purple carrot was used as medicine to treat everything from dog bites to syphilis. Men believed the carrot to be an aphrodisiac and used it to make women more pliable and men more passionate.
While the purple carrot may not be easy to come across right now, the health benefits and color appeal of this vegetable are making the spotlight and getting noticed. The Food and Drug Administration has approved for carrots to be marketed as fat free, low sodium, a good source of fiber, high in Vitamin A, and cholesterol free. Nutritionists and farmers everywhere are starting to get wise to the purple carrot’s appeal. While the color at first may be off putting or exotically interesting, the purple carrot is more than just a visual show stopper. It can also be a healthy person’s best friend.
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