Fruits and vegetables remain a vital part of our diets. Studies reveal that an increased intake of fruits and vegetables is highly essential for keeping certain chronic diseases at bay. Fruits and vegetables contain numerous health-promoting substances that are necessary for neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS). One important root vegetable that is also categorised as a fruit is the carrot. Carrot is botanically known as Daucus carota L. and it is the most important crop of the Apiaceae family. Carrot has gained tremendous recognition as a result of its high nutritional value and bioactive constituents. It provides us with numerous micronutrients, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, polyacetylenes (falcarinol, falcarindiol), phenols, phytochemicals, cinnamic acid derivatives, chlorogenic, caffeic and p-hydroxybenzoic acids as well as antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins and carotenoids. However, anthocyanins and carotenoids are the main antioxidants present in carrot. Carotenoids are the red, orange or yellow coloured phytochemicals present in carrot cultivars. β-carotene is a lipid-soluble carotenoid and it is the most essential micronutrient found in carrot. Carrot contains three flavonoids namely: luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin. Falcarinol is the most bioactive phytochemical found in carrot polyacetylenes. It stimulates the cancer-fighting mechanisms in the human body. Due to the high amount of carotenoids, polyacetylenes, phenolic compounds and vitamins present in carrot, it is highly recommended to include it in our daily diets so as to minimize the risk of certain diseases. To a larger extent, these compounds found in carrot exhibit hepatoprotective, anticarcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, renoprotective, cardioprotective, anti-bacterial, hepatoprotective, immunoenhancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, wound healing and analgesic effects.

Before you read further, Watch this Short Clip on the Remarkable Benefits of Carrot and Carrot Seeds Oil!!!

The orange coloured carrot contains a high amount of provitamin A, α- and β-carotene. Red carrot colour is as a result of its high constituent of lycopene. The purple coloured carrots contain high amounts of anthocyanin. White carrot cultivars contain minimal pigments. The yellow carrot contains a high amount of lutein that assists in preventing macular degeneration. Carrot is an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, E, H, K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), manganese, dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, iron, zinc, calcium, carbohydrates, potassium, pantothenic acid and molybdenum. Molybdenum facilitates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats as well as aids the absorption of iron in the body. Thiamin (B1) supports the nervous system thus promotes mental ability. Vitamin C facilitates the absorption of non-heme iron thus essential for fighting infections. Riboflavin facilitates cell respiration and red blood cell formation. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting thus prevents bleeding. Manganese aids the metabolism of carbohydrates, coordinates the enzymes in the body and acts as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Folic acid protects against birth defects in babies. Pyridoxine reduces the onset of heart disease and hinders the formation of homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine increase the risk of hardening of the arteries because of the accumulation of fatty plaques. Magnesium promotes healthy bone formation, relaxes the muscles and nerves, aids blood clotting, activates B vitamins, aids in energy production, helps with insulin secretion/function and helps with the formation of new cells. It is noteworthy that carrot seeds contain essential oils that have numerous health benefits.
Benefits of Carrots
Edible Purposes
Carrot is edible and its enlarged fleshy taproot can be consumed as a raw vegetable or fresh fruit or used for preparing carrot smoothie, carrot drink, carrot cake, carrot chips, sauteed carrots and assorted dishes. It can be cooked, sauteed, stir-fried, glazed, steamed, baked, pickled or roasted. The essential oil extracted from carrot can be added in food or used for preparing assorted cuisines. Carrot seed oil can be used to flavour liqueurs and hot drinks.
Antioxidant, Immunoenhancer and Anticarcinogen Effects
Carrot is an excellent source of antioxidants due to its high constituents of carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids and vitamins. These components also contribute to its ability to act as an anticarcinogen and as an immunoenhancer. They hinder inflammatory actions and modulate an immune response. The carotenoids in orange carrots act as antioxidants by neutralizing the impacts of free radicals and by inhibiting the mutagenesis activities of cancer cells. Due to its high provitamin A content, a regular intake of carrot is essential for minimizing the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer. Studies also reveal that smokers that consume carrot at least more than once on a weekly basis have a reduced risk of lung cancer. Carrot rich diets also protect against prostate cancer, bladder cancer and other carcinomas. Researchers also revealed that carrot juice extract can induce apoptosis and cause cell cycle arrest in leukaemia cell lines. This is attributed to the presence of β-carotene and falcarinol in carrot juice extract.
Improvement of Eyesight
Studies reveal that a regular intake of carrot is essential for improving the eyesight. It is noteworthy that vitamin A deficiency can cause the photoreceptors of the eyes to deteriorate thereby leading to poor vision. β-carotene, which is the carotenoid that has the highest provitamin A activity in carrot is useful for protecting the eye vision, especially night vision. It also offers protection against macular degeneration as well as the development of senile cataract, which are the leading cause of blindness in elderly individuals. Therefore, endeavour to include carrot in your diets for good vision or for the restoration of vision.
Wound Healing Effects
Studies reveal that the application of topical cream of ethanolic extract of carrot root exhibits significant decreases in wound area, epithelization period and scar width. The anti-microbial and antioxidant properties of ethanolic extract of carrot root, especially phenolic derivates and flavonoids are believed to contribute to the increased curative ability. The wound healing benefits of carrot can also be as a result of the inhibition of high levels of lipid peroxides and the regulation of collagen expression.
Aids Easy Food Digestion
Due to the high dietary fibre present in carrot, its regular consumption is recommended for boosting easy food digestion.

Carrot Seed Oil vs Carrot Oil

Carrot seed oil is the essential oil extracted from the carrot seeds while carrot oil is a macerated oil prepared by the infusion of carrot in a base oil like olive oil, citrus oil, lemon oil, coconut oil, bergamot oil, juniper oil, geranium oil and lavender oil etc. Carrot seed oil can be extracted using either solvent extraction, steam distillation or cold press. Carrot seed oil is an excellent source of palmitic acid, linoleic acid and oleic acid. The nontoxic carrot seed oil contains 82% of monounsaturated fatty acid, 13% polyunsaturated fatty acid and 5% saturated fatty acid. Carrot seed oil contains carotol, myrcene, limonene, geranyl acetate, camphene, b-bisabolene, b-pinene, y-terpinene, a-pinene and sabinene.
Benefits of Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil exhibits antiparasitic (vermifuge), anthelmintic, depurative (detoxifier), antiseptic, emmenagogue (stimulates or increases menstrual flow), carminative, aphrodisiac (stimulates sexual desire), cytophylactic (protects cells against lytic agents) and diuretic (increases urine passage) properties. Carrot seed oil can be used for expelling worms and for treating dysentery. The seeds can be decocted and used for treating infantile diarrhoea. It enhances the healthy functioning of the digestive and respiratory systems. It can be used in aromatherapy or vapour therapy to relieve anxiety, exhaustion and stress. It can be used to relieve menstrual pain and it also boosts breast milk production post child delivery. It stimulates the lymph system, tackles gallbladder disorder, liver disorder and kidney stones.
The oil is useful for tackling ulcers, enteritis (inflammation of the intestines), jaundice, flatulence, colic and hiccups. When consumed, the carrot seed oil can be helpful in appetite stimulation. It is a powerful detoxifier for eradicating unwanted wastes from the body. Carrot seed oil is essential for skin care thus can be used for producing body creams, soaps, perfumes, moisturizers, bath oil and massage oil. Skin care products manufactured with carrot seed oil moisturize, nourish, rejuvenate, revitalize and tighten the skin. The application of these products on the skin visibly revitalizes the skin, tones the skin, boosts the skin elasticity, hinders the progression of skin wrinkles, calms irritated skin and enhances the overall skin condition. It can also be used to tackle other skin conditions such as weeping sores, eczema, liver spots (age spots) and psoriasis.
Extraction of Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil can be extracted from the dried seeds by using the steam distillation method. The steam distillation method appears to be the most widely used because of its tendency to efficiently preserve the essential nutrients. Dried carrot seeds are usually crushed before undergoing steam distillation. During the production of carrot seed oil, the seeds are first steamed to prompt the release of its scented molecules. The temperature ought to be hot enough to enable the carrot seed essential oil to squeeze out from the seeds. However, the temperature shouldn't be overly hot to the extent of burning the carrot seeds.
Contraindications of Carrot Seed Oil
- An overdose of carrot seed oil can trigger convulsions and vomiting.
- Carrot seed oil should be avoided during pregnancy as it can cause bleeding if ingested by pregnant women.
- Epileptic patients should avoid essential oils such as carrot oil, especially in aromatherapy as they can cause overstimulation thereby leading to more detrimental reactions.
- Refrain from applying the carrot seed oil on your skin without first mixing it with other essential oils such as hempseed oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil or olive oil. During hot sunny weather, it is highly recommended to remain indoors at least 3 days after rubbing carrot seed oil on the skin.
- It is noteworthy that the wild carrot has the potential to increase the risks of sun sensitivity because of the high amount of furanocoumarin present in it. Studies reveal that furanocoumarin possesses photosensitizing properties thus can cause dermatitis and hypersensitivity reactions.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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