Whether you are a lover of vegetables or not, most people know and consume the vibrant orange root vegetable called carrot. Carrots are recognized as one of the most nutritious vegetables, but do you know that there exists another variety of carrots called black carrots? Their black to deep purple color distinctly sets black carrots apart as a rare variety in the carrot family.
Although relatively rare, black carrots possess a lot of vitamins and nutrients that boast significant health advantages. The health benefits of black carrots include the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
What are black carrots?
The background of black carrots is rooted in diverse regions of the Middle East, China, and India. Although carrots are traditionally orange in the United States, there are diverse colors of carrots around the world. Carrots can possess diverse colors, ranging from purple and red to yellow and even black. These carrots, despite their different colors, all belong to the same botanical family of root vegetables. The color variation is caused by the diverse concentration of compounds found in the carrot types. For example, the vibrant orange color of traditional carrots signals a high concentration of alpha and beta-carotene while the black carrots signal a greater concentration of anthocyanin.
Black carrots possess a distinct taste that is different from yellow carrots. They have an unusual sweetness, earthy flavor, and a subtle spicy aftertaste. However, black carrots are not only visually different and unique but possess a plethora of nutrients that enable them to offer diverse health benefits. They contain nutrients such as anthocyanins, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin K, falcarinol, and diverse minerals. The consumption of black carrots is not any different from that of yellow carrots; they can be snacked on raw, and used in salads, juices, soups, pickling, desserts, and other recipes.
Health benefits of black carrots
1. Regulation of blood pressure and support for heart health
One major property of black carrots is their antioxidant composition. It contains significant amounts of anthocyanins, which is greatly beneficial for heart health. This antioxidant can help the heart by reducing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), thereby preventing stroke and plaque buildup in the arteries. Moreover, anthocyanins can improve lipid profiles and enhance the functions of the blood vessels. Some studies have also established that anthocyanins may help reduce the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, anthocyanins can benefit the heart by aiding the regulation of blood pressure. They provide vasodilation effects to the blood vessels, helping them to relax and enhance the free flow of blood, thereby maintaining blood pressure. Another health benefit of black carrots for blood pressure is that they can help maintain the proper functioning of the blood vessels.
2. Alleviation of inflammation
Although some people may experience little to no symptoms at all when they have inflammation, inflammation is a very serious health concern. Inflammation is caused by a variety of factors including pathogens, external injuries, and radiation exposure. Inflammation in the tissues or cells can make the body lose important functions, causing health issues like cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and damage to healthy cells. However, consuming foods like black carrots that have anti-inflammatory properties, can help reduce the risk of these health conditions.
Black carrots have anti-inflammatory properties due to their composition of antioxidants and compounds like falcarinol and polyacetylenes. These compounds can help mitigate inflammation, thereby alleviating the symptoms associated with inflammatory disorders like arthritis. They reduce the production of inflammatory mediators like leukotrienes and prostaglandins, thereby regulating the body’s response to inflammation. Moreover, these compounds can improve and balance the response of the immune system to inflammation, potentially regulating the actions of immune cells and preventing acute inflammation.
3. Support for cellular health
There are certain unique compounds present in black carrots, such as anthocyanins and polyacetylenes. These compounds are particularly beneficial for cellular health and can potentially prevent the occurrence of some kinds of cancers. They halt the growth and spread of cancerous cells. Additionally, these bioactive compounds can encourage the death of affected cells to enable the development of new and unaffected ones.
Furthermore, polyacetylenes can halt angiogenesis. This means that the compound can prevent the formation of new blood vessels and stop them from providing nutrients to cancerous cells. By limiting this function, it contributes to stopping the growth of cancerous cells. Some research suggests that anthocyanins may be particularly beneficial for reducing the spread of certain cancers like colon and prostate cancers.
4. Enhance eye health
Like orange carrots, black carrots also contain good amounts of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that can offer diverse benefits to eye health. Beta-carotene belongs to a subgroup of vitamin A called carotenoids. When consumed in foods such as black carrots, the human body converts it to vitamin A, which offers the body diverse advantages including the enhancement of eye health.
Beta-carotene can benefit the eyes by aiding the prevention of night blindness. A deficiency of vitamin A and certain eye issues like glaucoma and myopia can make it significantly difficult to see in situations where there is low light. We are more likely to experience blurry vision as we age, but the consumption of foods rich in beta-carotene can decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Moreover, beta-carotene can also aid the prevention of dry eyes by aiding in lubricating the eyes.
5. Support digestive health
If you are looking to add a vegetable high in fiber and perfect for variety into your diet, try black carrots. One of the health benefits of black carrots is that it is high in fiber, which helps to contribute to digestive health. Consuming foods that contain fiber can help promote good and regular bowel movements, thereby reducing the risk of digestive disorders.
The fiber composition in black carrots also supports a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced gut microbiome is important because it enhances gut health and can reduce the risk of diverse diseases like cancer and diabetes. One distinctive quality of black carrots is that they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. These types of fiber together can enhance the functions of the digestive system and reduce the risk of developing gastrointestinal issues.
Beyond their exceptional and vibrant appearance, black carrots possess many advantages and are great in diverse dishes. The health benefits of black carrots include the inhibition of cancerous cells, prevention of diverse diseases, improved gut health, and improved immune system response. Integrating these unique root vegetables into your diet is an excellent way to include the benefits of black carrots. However, remember that, as with everything, balance, and regulation is key.