There is hardly a better known, more studied and more used plant in the world. Its exceptional qualities as a food and cosmetic product have been known and used since ancient times until today. Everyone knows that carrots are extremely useful. They are in every diet, for sick and healthy, for young and old, in any form, raw, boiled, baked, fried.
Because 100 grams of carrots have only 30-35 kilocalories (130 kilojoules), and contain 90% water, 1% proteins, 7% carbohydrates, 0.2% fat and about 1% cellulose. The mineral content is about 1%, incl. 45 mg sodium, 35 mg calcium, 31 mg phosphorus, 28 mg potassium, 21 mg magnesium, 0.7 mg iron, 0.3 mg manganese, 0.1 mg zinc, 0.05 mg copper, 0.002 mg cobalt. But the great glory of carrots comes from their vitamin content: carotene, vitamins B1, B2 (0.06 mg), B3, B6, folic acid, inositol, vitamin C (6-10 mg), E, K and PP (0, 05 mg) and pectin.
Carotene is a provitamin, the most important component of carrots, from it the body produces vitamin A - one of the most important vitamins, as it supports: the formation of visual pigment in the eyes (through which the eye adapts to low light), the good functioning of the immune system, the growth of skin, hair, teeth and gums, maintains healthy cell membranes and outer layers of tissues and organs, improves breathing, cleanses the liver and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, balances blood sugar levels, one of the best antioxidants, reduces the risk of cancer and the formation of stomach ulcers, indigestion. They prescribe to French women the claim that carrots are the cheapest and best cosmetic means, because the use of carrots, especially raw ones, delicately smooths out wrinkles, gives the skin a more intense color and freshness, protects it from harmful UV rays. Therefore, carrot extract is one of the most common ingredients in natural cosmetics. However, it is important to note that vitamin A in the carrot is a natural part of a perfect natural whole and works perfectly because it is in a complex with all the other ingredients and especially with the vitamins of the B group, vitamin E and C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc . The absorption of carotene by the body is one of the most discussed problems. It has already been proven that this is most fully obtained from freshly squeezed carrot juice - 100%, from raw grated carrots - 82% and from cooked carrots - 18%. Fresh carrots are the most useful, but if you consume them cooked, it is preferable that they are steamed, or boiled from raw, then from frozen, and finally from a can. It should not be forgotten
DO NOT OVERDOSE! Because an overdose results in CAROTINEMIA or yellow coloring of the skin, the palms of the hands, the feet, around the nose! This is a signal of an overdose, not of good health, ie. the body cannot absorb this amount of carotene. In high doses, vitamin A is toxic to the human body. There is a known case from 1974 in England of an overdose: a lawyer drank for 10 days 10 liters of carrot juice per day plus vitamin A tablets, which led to his death. But there is also a known case in which a patient drank only 2 glasses of carrot juice and ate 2 tomatoes, which also led to an illness. Each organism has an individual reaction, so be careful. At the first signs of yellowing - stop using carrots and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables until the body is cleared.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin A is 6-8 mg. Research shows that by eating ½ cup of carrots you will get in % of your daily allowance:
- calcium 2%
- iron 2%
- sodium 3%
- fiber 8%
- vitamin C 10%
- vitamin A 110%
When commenting on the beneficial properties of carrots, it is important to pay attention to another ingredient - inositol , also known as vitamin B8, because of its lipotropic effect, i.e. prevents accumulation of fat and cholesterol. Makes the hair stronger and prevents it from falling out, limits eczema. Doubts are expressed that inositol deficiency may be the cause of reduced sperm fertility.
In the form in which we know them today, carrots appeared only in the 16th century. At first they were wild, purple and white, with weak and elongated roots, more bitter and tasteless. Legend has it that the white carrot blushed under the influence of the lustful gaze of the cabbage ... and remained orange forever. The wild carrot is the ancestor of the later domesticated one, but today both species exist in parallel. In 2011, more than 500 varieties were described in European catalogs, which differ in size (short, semi-long and long), in shape (cylindrical and conical) and in color (white, yellow, orange, red and purple).
Purple, crimson carrots – they are the first known species, their external coloring is due to anthocyanins, water-soluble red-blue-black pigments. Powerful antioxidants, slow blood clotting, have a good anti-inflammatory effect. Inside, these carrots are orange and contain even more beta-carotene. They were discovered in ancient Persia, and today they come from Turkey, the Far and Middle East.
White carrots - characterized by a lack of pigment, but they contain health-promoting substances called phytochemicals, natural bioactive compounds found in many plants. It can be said that this type of carrot is the "least healthy". They come from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan.
Red carrots - they are colored by lycopene, a bright red phytochemical from the group of carotenoid pigments, also found in tomatoes, watermelon and other red fruits and vegetables. Also a powerful antioxidant, reduces the risk of macular degeneration, helps prevent cardiovascular and cancer diseases, incl. of the prostate, slows down the aging of the skin and protects it from the so-called age spots. These carrots come from India and China.
Yellow carrots - contain xanthophylls and lutein, yellow pigments, a type of natural carotenoids. They also have antioxidant properties. This type of carrot is recommended to improve the health of the eyes, to prevent cancer, especially of the lung, and to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. They come from the Middle East.
Orange carrots – contain more carotene, which is an orange pigment. Appearing last in Europe, English and Dutch continue to argue about where they first appeared, but for now the Dutch version prevails. Today it is the most common type. Annually (according to FAO data from 2010) more than 24 million tons of carrots are produced in the world and the largest producer is China - about 35%, Russia - 7%, USA - 7%, Poland - 4% and Great Britain – 3%.
Black carrots - contain anthocyanins, have strong antioxidant properties, inhibitors of bad LDL cholesterol. Black anthocyanins are particularly active, which is why today this type of carrot is back on our table as food and as a natural source of food coloring. They originate from Turkey, the Far and Middle East.
Another curious thing related to carrots is the so-called "The doctrine of signature” or “Signature Theory”. This is an ancient principle according to which in nature all living things are interconnected through their energy, "prana" in Indian, "chi" in Chinese, "quantum energy" in modern European culture. The idea that God has signed, marked everything appeared as early as the 16th century in the writings of Jacob Boehme, a German philosopher and Christian mystic. He was a master shoemaker in the small town of Görlitz and at the age of 25 he began to search for the relationship between God and man, good and evil. He wrote several books, including "De Signatura Rerum", in which he developed the idea of the Divine signature on all living things, a book that became a manual for determining the usefulness of things according to color, shape, aroma, taste, place of cultivation, etc. . Paracelsus later developed this theory by stating that man is a reflection of everything that surrounds him, incl. the stars and planets. He transferred the "Signature of God" to the plants and began to "read" the signs of nature through their benefit to the human body. For example, a cracked walnut resembles the human brain, therefore it should be eaten to improve brain activity, almonds - for the liver, hazelnuts - for the heart, beans - for the kidneys, avocados - for the cervix, tomatoes - for the heart and blood, and the carrot – for the eyes, since when cut crosswise it resembles the pupil of the eye. Today, this theory is again widely advocated in holistic medicine. the hazelnut - for the heart, the bean - for the kidneys, the avocado - for the cervix, the tomato - for the heart and blood, and the carrot - for the eyes, since when cut crosswise it resembles the pupil of the eye. Today, this theory is again widely advocated in holistic medicine. the hazelnut - for the heart, the bean - for the kidneys, the avocado - for the cervix, the tomato - for the heart and blood, and the carrot - for the eyes, since when cut crosswise it resembles the pupil of the eye. Today, this theory is again widely advocated in holistic medicine.
The origin of the carrot is shrouded in doubt and conjecture, as it was originally a wild plant. In fact, in the beginning, according to archaeologists, about 10,000 years ago, man began to use carrot seeds as medicine, and much later discovered the root as food. It was purple or pale yellow in color. It is supposed to have been found as such in the lands of ancient Persia, present-day Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Wild purple and white carrots can be found in Afghanistan even today, used to produce an alcoholic drink. There is evidence that the wild carrot was cultivated as a medicinal plant centuries before it was domesticated. The first drawings of purple carrots with green leaves were found on the wall in an ancient Egyptian temple from before 2000, but they are thought to have been used as medicine. as the Egyptians used in their medical practice other representatives of the "Umbrella" family, such as anise, celery and coriander. Carrot seeds have also been found in prehistoric dwellings in Ronbenhausen, Switzerland and in Glastonbury, England, but without evidence of their purposeful cultivation.
Theophrastus (371-287 BC), the father of botany, in his "History of Plants" reported that carrots grew in Arcadia, and he found the best ones in Sparta. Mithridates VI , king of Pontus (120-63 BC) was very afraid of being poisoned and daily drank an antidote prepared by his physician, containing 36 ingredients extracted from plants and honey. Among them were Cretan carrot seeds. The ancient Greeks grew carrots, white and yellow, but used them only for medicinal purposes. They were most often recommended as a means to make men more ardent and women more fertile. However, they began to cultivate the wild plants in their gardens, so it is not surprising that the carrot also appears in the works of Hippocrates, the great physician of ancient Greece, whose words "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food" gain new power today. Also curious is the legend that the Greek soldiers hidden in the Trojan Horse ate almost only carrots to deactivate their excretory system while in the horse, although this contradicts the "possibilities" of this vegetable.
In his famous work "De Medicina", the Roman Cornelius Celsius at the beginning of the 1st century AD. describes carrot seeds as a good remedy, but now also offers a "paw" of carrots, suggesting that the root and its medicinal properties have been discovered. In the Roman Empire, carrots became part of everyday food. In the first cookbook “De Re Coquinaria” by Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman merchant and acclaimed glutton from the time of Emperor Tiberius, which gives us an idea of the way of eating throughout Europe at the time, also has several recipes with carrots - raw (with oil, salt and vinegar), boiled or fried in butter and served with white wine sauce. Carrots in ancient Rome were white and purple. Emperor Caligula , deeply believed that carrots are a strong aphrodisiac and organized orgies where they served a huge amount of carrots. Pliny the Elder, who died in 79 AD in Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius, described four types of carrots in his "encyclopedia" called "Historia Naturalis" and strongly recommended them as a means of protection against diseases and strengthening the body. Pedanius Dioscorides, a Roman military doctor of Greek origin in the 1st century, in his famous "Materia medica" gives the first scientific description of the carrot and offers it as a panacea, a universal medicine for many diseases, incl. cancerous tumors, as the Greeks also used it. It recommends the use of carrots against insect bites, to clear urine, and for problems with conception. His book remains the best and most systematized scientific knowledge of herbs and plants for the next 1,500 years.
Galen, the most famous ancient Roman physician, surgeon and philosopher, in the 2nd century, was the first to distinguish the carrot from the parsnip (they are related, their roots are similar in shape and off-white color, so it is not known whether historically the ancient writers did not have referring specifically to parsnip, Pastinaca) and calls it DAUCUS. The name CAROTA for garden carrot appears in the cookbook cited above. But it was not until the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 introduced a clear distinction from the parsnip and called the carrot Daucus Carota. He made the first distinction between plant species and varieties, and the system he introduced for the classification of genera and species, as well as the use of their Latin names, is still valid today.
After the fall of Rome, the carrot was forgotten until it reappeared after 795. when Charlemagnewrote "Capitulare de vilis" and recommended 90 species of plants and fruit trees to be cultivated in the Frankish Empire, i.e. Western and Central Europe. Among them is the carrot. According to legend, to the question of a famous scientist, "What is the herb?", Charlemagne answered: "A friend of doctors and praise for cooks." After that, carrots disappeared again to reappear somewhere around 1100, when the Moors brought them back to Western Europe via Spain. In the lands around the Mediterranean, wild red carrot was grown in the 10th century and it is believed to be a variety of the purple one brought from Afghanistan or Turkey. In the following centuries, the carrot already occupies an important place on the table, it has been studied and described in sufficient depth as a medicine. The first recipe for carrot puree appears, treatises on its cultivation,
The best gardeners at that time became the Dutch, and in the 16th century, thanks to their skills in crossing and ennobling wild species , the orange carrot appeared in Europe. It had a sweeter taste, did not change color when cooked, had a thicker root, and quickly spread because it was often served at royal tables. It was permanently included in the cuisine of England, France and Spain, the largest colonial countries, from where it also went to America. There is evidence that in 1565 it was already grown off the coast of Venezuela, and in 1607 - in Virginia, North America. During the Renaissance, vegetables, including the carrot, already occupied a worthy place on the table, the herbal specialties of the famous doctors and healers of antiquity were revived. Many soups and roasts are made with carrots. In 1740, the first recipe for carrot pudding appeared in England, and later for a cake.
In 1814 Thomas Jefferson, the third American president, proudly spoke of his own production of 18 bushels of carrots (0.65 cubic meters), he grew 250 varieties of vegetables and 170 fruits.
The carrot is now known all over the world, universally recognized as medicine and food. And more and more scientists are beginning to study its chemical and biological properties. In 1811, Frenchman Nicolas Appert introduced the art of canning, putting carrots in glass jars lightly boiled and salted, prepared for winter consumption. He says "From now on everyone will be able to preserve the natural treasures of a given season and enjoy them later when they are not in nature". The different components of the carrot were analyzed, it was awarded the leading place in terms of carotene content, and its nutritional benefits were studied. To get to 1939, when a noisy military propaganda campaign began to accept more carotene, respectively to eat more carrots. At the time, the Germans were bombing England, and the "magic of carrots" was supposed to help improve night vision and increase success in shooting down German planes. The carrot became the "healthy vegetable" and the government promoted its consumption through leaflets with various recipes, for the children, "Dr. Carrot" appears, who recommends carrot treats instead of candy. All this greatly encouraged the production of carrots, and England became the leading producer and exporter of this vegetable, at the same time replacing imported fruits and vegetables. In the USA, the propaganda campaign is called "Victory Gardens", i.e. "victory gardens" and recommends that every centimeter of land be turned into a vegetable garden. By 1944, half of the vegetables consumed were grown in these gardens, and this became a national and patriotic duty. Of course the carrot is the main character, along with the potato. and at the same time imported fruits and vegetables are replaced. In the USA, the propaganda campaign is called "Victory Gardens", i.e. "victory gardens" and recommends that every centimeter of land be turned into a vegetable garden. By 1944, half of the vegetables consumed were grown in these gardens, and this became a national and patriotic duty. Of course the carrot is the main character, along with the potato. and at the same time imported fruits and vegetables are replaced. In the USA, the propaganda campaign is called "Victory Gardens", i.e. "victory gardens" and recommends that every centimeter of land be turned into a vegetable garden. By 1944, half of the vegetables consumed were grown in these gardens, and this became a national and patriotic duty. Of course the carrot is the main character, along with the potato.The carrot won World War II in the air ” is the result of general propaganda in Europe and the USA. Whether the carotene really improved the night vision abilities of the pilots and citizens, whether the general mobilization of the body and the subconscious, or perhaps the new technologies in aircraft construction and radar installations had more weight in the victory, is debated to this day. But all this leads to a permanent increase in the consumption of carrots, changing the eating habits of generations of Europeans and Americans. And it turns the thousand-year-old recommendations into an unquestionable postulate: "Carrots are one of the most useful foods!" Therefore, carrot, juice and puree, becomes the first vegetable that is fed to babies.
Finally, a simple test to measure your body's vitamin A needs. Go into a dark room and measure the time it takes for your eyes to adjust and start seeing in the dark - it shouldn't be more than 7 seconds, the shorter - the better better. Otherwise, eat more carrots! In fact, this advice also applies to anyone who stares at a computer screen all day.
But do not forget - the carrot is a root, therefore it easily collects toxins from the environment and is affected by the way of processing the soils in which it is grown, by the conditions under which it is stored. It is important to pay attention to its appearance when we buy it. The more intensely orange it is, the more carotene it has. Also, the sugar is concentrated in its core, so the bigger a carrot, the sweeter it is. It should look fresh and be firm. The most useful are carrots in the period from June to November, grown under ecological conditions.
Carrot extract is included in all products of the cosmetic series BIO ARGENTUM for babies and children. In combination with silver water and other essential oils and herbal extracts, it guarantees, with daily use, perfect cleansing and nourishment of the skin in depth, stimulates its natural immune protective function, restores the hydrolipidic balance, removes dryness and redness, increases elasticity, prevents infection and wounds , strengthens the general antioxidant effect of the product, protects the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's rays.