10 Fun Facts About Carrots

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beta-carotene in carrots

1. Carrots Are Old

You can trace carrots back to 5000 years ago through historical documents & paintings. No one’s exactly sure when carrots first appeared – it got mistaken a lot for parsnips, which is a close relative to a carrot.

2. Original Use

People first used carrots as medicine for a number of ailments – not as a food source. When first cultivated, carrots were grown for their leaves and seeds rather than their roots. The part of the carrot we eat is called the taproot.

3. Origins of the humble carrot

Carrots are a root vegetable that originated in Afghanistan. They were purple, red, white, and yellow, but never orange. In the 16th century, Dutch carrot growers invented the orange carrot in honour of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. They did this by cross breeding pale yellow carrots with red carrots. Newly orange, carrots traveled England with Dutch travellers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The carrot soon caught on in England as both a food and a fashion accessory. Ladies would often use carrot tops to decorate their hats.

4. Top Producer or carrots

China is the world’s top carrot producer. The country produced 35 percent of the world’s carrots in 2004. Russia is the second top producer and the United States the third.

beta-carotene in carrots

5. Beta-carotene in carrots. Why are they so orange?

Orange carrots get their colour from beta carotene. They have more beta carotene than any other vegetable. One cup of carrots has 16,679 IU of beta-carotene. The deeper orange the carrot, the more beta-carotene you’re getting.

6. Santa and his reindeer

According to tradition, Santa’s reindeer will eat 360 different plants but not carrots.

7. Carrot Festival

Holtville, California calls itself the Carrot Capital of the World and holds an annual carrot festival.

8. They’re great for nutrition

A medium-size carrot has 25 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fibre. The veggie is an excellent source of vitamin A, providing more than 200% of your daily requirement in just one carrot. There’s a load of beta-carotene in carrots, a natural chemical that the body changes into vitamin A. The deeper orange the carrot, the more beta-carotene you’re getting.

They’re also great for digestion. They increase saliva and supply essential minerals, vitamins and enzymes that aid in digestion. Eating carrots regularly may help prevent gastric ulcers and other digestive disorders. They’re a good source of potassium which help maintain healthy sodium levels in your body – helping to reduce elevated blood pressure.

Carrots are high in soluble fibre which may reduce your cholesterol by binding the LDL form (the bad kind) and increasing the HDL form (the kind our body needs) to help reduce blood clots and prevent heart disease.

beta-carotene in carrots

9. They’re alkalising

Rich in alkaline elements, carrots helps to purify and revitalise your body. That and they’re also great for your eyes, hair, nails as carrots can help detoxify your system and build new cells.

10. Keep your eyes stronger for longer

Carrots are high in Vitamins A – a nutrient essential for good vision. So, eat them up – especially when nights start to get longer and darker.