species belonging to the family of Umbrelliferae (or Apiaceae), carrot includes several
subspecies, among which the sativus one, to which belong the varieties cultivated today.
Habitat: At the wild stage it is found in meadows and fields all across Europe. It is mostly cultivated in several varieties used for the root.
It was chosen as an ingredient of Wonderup because: Contains components with estrogenic activities, most notably beta carotene, which, like all phytoestrogens, is a substance similar to female hormones, and therefore able to regulate their production in the body, thus stimulating the natural development of the breast, the main receptor of estrogens in the female body. This property is confirmed by the traditional use of carrot as a stimulant to the production of mother's milk - indeed it acts on the breast by promoting the development of the mammary glands.
Other characteristics and
This common vegetable, usually eaten raw in salads and also used to prepare sauces and savoury dishes, contains several active ingredients, among which beta carotene, which is a substance that is transformed by the organism into Vitamin A.
Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) is necessary for proper growth & repair of body tissues; helps maintain smooth, soft disease-free skin; helps protect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose , throat & lungs, thereby reducing susceptibility to infections; protects against air pollutants (antioxidant effect against free radicals); counteracts night-blindness & weak eyesight; and aids in bone & teeth formation.
Current medical research shows that foods rich in Beta Carotene will help reduce the risk of lung cancer (especially in smokers who literally 'burn' a lot of Vitamin A) & certain oral cancers. Unlike Vitamin A from fish liver oil, Beta Carotene is non-toxic.
A diet rich in fat, working at the computer or under artificial light, pollution, cigarette smoke and other factors contribute in provoking an increased need of Vitamin A - Betacarotene. The same goes for people who spend a lot of time in front of the tv. Vitamin A helps counteract the toxic effects of radiation from home appliances.
A deficiency of Beta Carotene may result in night blindness, increased susceptibility to infections, rough, dry, scaly skin, loss of smell & appetite, frequent fatigue, lack of tearing, defective teeth, and retarded gum growth.
Glutathione, another antioxidant like Beta Carotene, is also present.
Carrot also contains group B vitamins, vitamins PP, D and E, and other useful components. Because of this, carrot is an important vegetable for all those who needs vitaminic intake, such as children, elderly people, and in convalescence. Thanks to the high content in vitamins and minerals, carrot enhances the body's defenses and its resistance capacities against infections.
It is also indicated to fight lung and gastro-duodenal ailments, hepatic-biliar deficiency and dermatosis.
Its antioxidant properties make it valuable in counteracting the onset of old age. It is also:
* galactogogue - facilitates milk secretion in nursing mothers
* emmenagogue - stimulates the flow of menstrual blood
* carminative - stimulates the production of gastric juices and aids digestion
* hepatic - tones the liver and regenerates its cells. Used for indigestion, colic, liver congestion, cirrhosis. Good after the acute phase of hepatitis, a violent bilious attack or drug poisoning. Regulates cholesterol levels.
* diuretic - affects liver and detoxification systems due to its ability to stimulate the production of urine and the elimination of toxins and waste through urine - tones the kidneys
* cleanses the blood. Helps to increase the level of haemoglobin.
* balances the intestinal function
Carrot has been regarded by the ancient healers as the 'herbal healer' of skin diseases. Indeed Vitamin A or betacarotene, of which carrot is rich, can be considered the main vitamins for the skin. Dry skin, with impurities, acne, difficulty in tanning, sunburns, eritema, premature appearance of wrinkles - all these things can depend largely on an insufficient intake of this vitamin.
Carrot is therefore very useful for the skin for its properties:
* anti-inflammatory, revitalizes and tones the skin. Used to treat dermatitis, eczema, rashes, as well as wrinkles (for its antioxidant properties which fight the damage to tissues caused by free radicals). Used also to promote the healing of cuts, abrasions and stubborn sores. Carrot seed diluted in wheatgerm oil is recommended as a suntan lotion. It is indeed used in some suncare lotions on the market.
* EYE CARE - From early childhood we are taught to eat carrots to improve our eyesight. Carrot brings relief of eyestrain and inflammation of the eyes.
* NOURISHING - Carrot promotes healthy skin and is beneficial to areas of the skin that are regularly exposed to the sun and tend to blister and peel.
* MOISTURISING - Carrot aids in repair of skin tissue and helps in the treatment of dry, chapped and scaling skin conditions.
The fresh root, finely chopped, can be used as a beauty mask for the face.
COMPOSITION AND ENERGETIC VALUE
Edible part 95%
Available sugars 7.6g
Nutritional fiber 3.1g
Vitamin C 4mg
Source: Italian National Institue of Nutrition
One carrot 7 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter,
yields the following nutrients:
* 27 mg. calcium
* 26 mg. phosphorus
* 0.5 mg. iron
* 34 mg. sodium
* 246 mg. potassium
* 7,930 I.U. vitamin A
* trace amounts of vitamin B-complex
* 6 mg. vitamin C
Another nutritional analysis, performed by Lancaster
Laboratories, listed these additional nutrients per 10 ozs of carrot juice:
* 25 mg. magnesium
* 0.6 ppm chromium,
* and a sugar content of about 4% by weight.
The use of carrots and especially carrot
juice as a therapeutic agent is an ancient practice. As long as a 150 years
ago, books published in Germany speak highly of the healing properties of this vegetable
in treating disease.
English publications refer to the strong antiseptic qualities of carrots and a good many years ago the great professor Metchnikoff made the discovery that the stool of rabbits fed on carrots lost its odor and had become free of putrefactive germs.
Complexion Problems: These problems are mainly due to an overly acid condition of the blood, caused by poor diet and life-style habits. The potassium in the carrots helps to neutralize the excess acid and the vitamin A assists the liver in removing toxins from the body.
Heavy Metal Accumulations: The cookware we use for food preparation, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the pesticide-sprayed leafy greens we eat, can lead to an exposure to heavy metals. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 1985, carrot juice can pull these heavy metals from fatty tissue where they reside, bind them up, and discharge them from the system.
Carrot juice is a very important source of vitamin A.
Scientists in the U.S. estimate that this juice contains the largest source of vitamin A,
than any other fruit juice. Carrot juice provides an important source of dietary fiber and
has approximately 24 calories in each 2 oz. Serving. It contains important nutrients such
as calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, potassium, vitamin B complex, vitamin A, and as
mentioned - mostly vitamin A.
Carrot juice is a therapeutic agent used for over 150 years as an ancient practice. It is reported to contain healing properties that have proven to treat varied diseases. Even complexion problems can be eliminated with the intake and digestion of needed potassium in carrot juice to help neutralize excess acid to the skin. The vitamin a in carrot juice helps the liver flush out toxins from the body - toxins that cause complexion problems.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in their October 1985 issue that "Carrot juice pulls heavy metal forming tissues, bind them up, and discharge them from the body's system" - A proven cleansing and dietary supplement.
History and Curiosities:
According to some authors, the variety of carrots now cultivated (Daucus carota) derive from a subspecies indigenous of the Mediterranean area, even if more recent research indicate Afghanistan as the probable area of origins of this horticultural species.
Carrot was already known to ancient Greeks and Romans and by Arabs, who used it more for medicinal purposed than in the kitchen. In early Celtic literature, the carrot is referred to as the "Honey Underground"! The first ascertained mentions of orange carrot roots, rich in carotene and with a conical shape, date back to the XVII century.
Only in the last century the first varieties were described in France.
THE CULTIVATION OF CARROTS
About two thirds of the world production of carrots come from Europe and Asia. 75% of the Italian production comes from three regions only: Sicily (42%) in Southern Italy, Abruzzo (21%) and Lazio (12%) in Central Italy. Other important areas for this cultivation are in Veneto and Emilia Romagna in the North and Puglia in the South.
The varieties are generaly classified on the basis of the shape and length of the root. Among those with short and sperically shaped root, are Parisian Red or Paris Market; among those with medium roots, the most appreciated are Nantes, Chantenay, Amsterdam and Touchon. As regards long root varieties, the most diffused in Italy is Fiumicino.
At a temperature of 0 C and with a relative humidity of 90-95%, carrots can be kept even for several months, keeping all their properties and characteristics.
It is interesting to note that from the central flower a coloring substance is obtained which is very much appreciated by decorators.
Culinary uses: can be eaten in a varieties of ways as a nutritious and tasty vegetable, and is also used for excellent cakes such as this one:
Italian Carrot cake
Ingredients: 250 gr carrots, 6 eggs, 250 gr sugar, 250 gr almonds and the rind of a lemon.
Preparation: Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar; add the six egg whites whipped until firm, the carrots finely grated, the almonds finely grounded, the grated rind ot the lemon. Mix well and put in the oven in a cake pan with greased foil on the bottom. Cook for about 30 minutes with the oven at 180 C.
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