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Vitamin A and skin health - a website which explains the efficacy of the topical application of Beta Carotene. Here Microwave cooking improves functional properties of carrots Food technicians and nutritionists from the Sangmyung University in Seoul compared the physical and functional properties of carrots cooked differently within the same hardness-range. First of all, hardness was classified in three different levels based on the chewing ability of the elderly. Carrots were then cooked in three different ways - boiled, steamed and microwaved. Antioxidant properties were assessed through the ,. Both values increased with prolonged cooking times, especially by steaming and microwaving. The highest beta-carotene content was found in microwave cooking. In addition, more calcium was eluted by cell tissue. More correlations between variables with microwave cooking were observed. As a consequence, the latter emerged as the most effective cooking method to soften carrots in the shortest time and with the highest functional values. Many constituents of the orange carrot we now cultivate are also in the white root of the wild carrot, Queen Anne's lace, from which our carrot was developed. This is true of falcarinol, falcarindiol, and myristicin. Carotene present in small amounts in Queen Anne's lace has been increased by centuries of selection. Volatile oils have been decreased in this process. Plant scientists must continue to monitor all known constituents nutritive and non-nutritive - as new cultivars of the carrot are developed to keep our vegetables nutritious and safe. Plant breeding for the sake of high yields, appearance, and keeping quality will not be sufficient. Carrots used to be better! The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits size, growth rate, pest resistance other than nutrition. The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from to found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. A similar study of British nutrient data from to , published in the British Food Journal, found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore would be one important step. Also, foregoing pesticides and fertilizers in favour of organic growing methods is good for the soil, the produce and its consumers. Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers. Vegetables are still extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals and vegetables and fruit are our best sources for these. Read more about whether foods tasted better in days gone by, at Life in the 's here. Carrots contain elements that keep us healthy on many levels. The 3 most important elements are Beta-carotene, Alpha Carotene, and Phytochemicals. Beta carotene usually receives most attention when examining carrots. It is one of about similar compounds called carotenoids, which are present in many fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is not, in itself, a vital nutrient for humans; however, the human body converts it into vitamin A, which we do need. There are two forms of vitamin A we get from our food. Pre-formed vitamin A, retinol, which is animal-based, and carotenoids, which are plant-based. Beta-carotene is one of the most readily available carotenoids and is found abundantly in carrots. The body changes beta carotene into vitamin A, which is important in strengthening the immune system, keeping the skin, lungs and intestinal track in order, and promoting healthy cell growth. Beta-carotene is found primarily in dark green, red, yellow, and orange-coloured plants, and is converted by the body into vitamin A and also works on its own. Photo of beta carotene under the microscope. This was attributed to the high soluble fibre content of carrots, mostly in the form of pectin. The highest content is found in the deepest orange or red colours of carrots. There is a red variety called Juwarot which is known to be one of the highest, though it's not often available in normal shops, but you can find the seeds in good garden centres and online. It has been recorded as having mg per kilo, the average carrot has about Vitamin A is a pale yellow primary alcohol derived from carotene. It affects the formation and maintenance of skin, mucous membranes, bones, and teeth, vision and reproduction. In addition dietary Vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene, an antioxidant, may help reduce the risk of certain cancers. However, beta carotene is much more than the precursor for vitamin A. Only so much beta carotene can be changed into vitamin A, and that which is not changed contributes to boosting the immune system and is also a potent antioxidant. It is known to protect the integrity and keep the skin healthy, the digestive system, is essential to the epidermal cells called keratinocytes that maintain nerves and blood vessels and helps maintain the lining of the urinary tract and lungs. It also helps fight viral infections, keeps the immune system working at its peak, may help ward off certain cancers and is required for DNA translations in the reproductive systems of both males and females as well as lessen the risk of premature aging. Antioxidants fight free radicals and help prevent them from causing membrane damage, DNA mutation, and lipid fat oxidation, all of which may lead to many of the diseases that we consider "degenerative. It is highly recommended that vitamin A be consumed from the diet rather than from supplements particularly in the case of beta carotene , because vitamin A obtained from a varied diet offers the maximal potential of health benefits that supplements cannot. The richest sources of preformed vitamin A are liver, fish liver oils, milk, milk products, butter, and eggs. Liver is an especially rich source because vitamin A is primarily stored in the liver of animals and humans. There are actually two types of vitamin A. The first is called retinoid that includes retinol, which is found in foods of animal origin, such as; liver, kidney, butter, whole milk, egg yolks, shrimp, cod liver oil and whole cream. The second is called provitamin A which is part of the carotenoid family, such as beta-carotene which can be found in sweet potatoes, Bok Choy, carrots, spices, lettuce, dried herbs, butternut squash, cantaloupe, dried apricots, dark leafy greens, Romaine lettuce and winter squashes. As you can see Vitamin A intake is essential to human health. Some of the symptoms and conditions that individuals can experience and be diagnosed with are; hypothyroidism, bone deformities, irritability, depression, night blindness, stress, frequent cold, dry eyes, goose bumped skin, poor growth in children and frequent viral infections. One wonderful principle of vitamin A is that it remains stable in foods that are exposed to heat. Not having the vitamin affected when foods are cooked is great since it retains the nutrients that are essential to receive the dietary amount of vitamin A necessary from meats, daily products and vegetables. Beta carotene is not the only carotenoid. Often overlooked, and also found in carrots, is alpha carotene. Murakoshi indicates that neuroblastoma cancer cells coated with carotenoids experience a drop in N-myc activity compared to untreated cells. N-myc is a gene that codes for cell growth-stimulating proteins and can contribute to cancer formation and growth. Alpha carotene was found to be about ten times more inhibitory toward N-myc activity than beta carotene. Murakoshi concludes that all types of carotenoids should be studied for possible health benefits. Phytochemicals which are found in vegetables, fruits, and nuts, may reduce the risk of cancer, strokes, hinder the ageing process, balance hormonal metabolism, and have antiviral and antibacterial properties. A phytochemical is a natural bioactive compound found in plant foods that works with nutrients and dietary fibre to protect against disease. Research suggests that phytochemicals, working together with nutrients found in fruits, vegetables and nuts, may help slow the ageing process and reduce the risk of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infections. They can have complementary and overlapping mechanisms of action in the body, including antioxidant effects, modulation of detoxification enzymes, stimulation of the immune system, modulation of hormone metabolism, and antibacterial and antiviral effect. So, fruit and vegetables that are bright colours - yellow, orange, red, green, blue, and purple - generally contain the most phytochemicals and the most nutrients. You can benefit from all of the phytochemicals and nutrients found in plant foods by eating servings of fruit and vegetables a day and eating more whole grains, soya and nuts. More than different phytochemicals have been found in plant foods and more will be discovered. These protective plant compounds are an emerging area of nutrition and health, with new research reported every day. Current research suggests that most fruit and vegetables contain phytochemicals and that many fruit and vegetables contain a wide variety of phytochemicals. Read more about the action and benefit of Phytochemicals, nutrients and Flavonoids - click here. From those 3 elements, carrots benefit our bodies by: Boosting immunity especially among older people. Reducing photosensitivity beta-carotene protects the skin from sun damage. Improving symptoms of HIV. Easing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Helping to heal minor wounds and injuries. Raw carrot or boiled are applied on cuts and wounds as an antiseptic. Reducing the risk of heart disease. Reducing the risk of high blood pressure. Cleansing the liver, and when consumed regularly, can help the liver excrete fats and bile. Fighting infection vitamin A keeps cell membranes healthy, making them stronger against disease-causing micro organisms Improving muscle, flesh, and skin health. Improving eye health Anti ageing -Carrots are considered anti-ageing foods as they are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights free radicals. Carrots are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, both responsible for healthy skin, hair and nails Dental health: Consumption of carrots improves the dental health by clearing plaque. Biting on carrots increases the production of saliva, hence balances the acid level which fight cavity-causing bacteria. Pigment Power in Carrot Colour Have you ever seen a purple carrot? How about white, yellow, red or black? Most people haven't, even though such carrots have existed for hundreds of years. They are available in good health food stores, often called "Rainbow Packs". Carrots were originally purple or red, with a thin root.
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