Purple Carrots for Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Vision, Cholesterol and more...
Nutrition Facts for Purple Carrots (vs Orange and Yellow Cultivars)
All carrots are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. Furthermore, all carrots (except the white cultivars) are good sources of carotenoids. That said, there are some substantial nutritional differences between purple/black and orange/yellow carrots:
• Fact 1: Orange carrots contain the highest levels of total carotenoids, but also purple cultivars such as Purple Haze contain significant levels.
• Fact 2: In yellow and purple carrots, lutein represents almost half of the total carotenoids. By contrast, in orange carrots, beta-carotene is the dominating carotenoid (65%).
• Fact 3: Purple carrots contain higher amounts of phenolics (especially anthocyanins) and show higher antioxidant capacity than their orange and yellow counterparts.
Anthocyanins, Carotenoids and Vision
Anthocyanins are a group of plant chemicals, or phytochemicals, within the larger flavonoid group of plant pigments, which act as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Purple carrots also contain carotenoids, which give orange foods their color. Both carotenoids and anthocyanins play a role in maintaining good vision. In particular, the body converts the carotenoid beta-carotene to vitamin A, which aids eyesight.
Powerful Purple Carrot Juice
In the November 2010 issue of the “British Journal of Nutrition,” researchers from the University of Queensland showed that purple carrot juice may be helpful in reversing the negative affects of a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Rats subjected to the diet developed a wide variety of chronic ailments, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and liver problems. The researchers noted that the juice was low in carotenoids, which are plentiful in raw carrots. They reported it was likely that the purple juice’s anthocyanins were responsible for improving the rats’ glucose tolerance as well as cardiovascular and liver function. Purple carrots are also a good source of soluble fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose. An 8-ounce glass of purple carrot juice contains about four medium-sized carrots for a total of 130 calories and nearly 5 percent of the dietary fiber that an adult needs daily based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Breast Cancer Research
In 1988, Professor Leonard Pike of Texas A&M; University found some purple-blotched carrots in Brazil and used them to develop a maroon carrot to match the school’s color. His research took a more serious turn when he began to hear about the potential health benefits of anthocyanins. The result was the BetaSweet carrot, which is maroon on the outside and orange inside. It is high in both anthocyanins and carotenoids. Subsequently, two breast cancer studies involving both Texas A&M; and the University of Arizona compared results from human participants who consumed either BetaSweet or orange carrot juice. “The FASEB Journal” of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology published the first study in 2009, while the second appeared in the journal “Nutrition and Cancer” in 2012. Each study concluded that both types of juice were equally successful in reducing oxidative stress due to raising the levels of carotenoids — not the anthocyanins — in the participants’ blood.
Anthocyanins from purple carrots may help with the effects of diabetes, notes an article published in 2007 in “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Having diabetes causes damage to blood vessels, which are made from collagen. These beneficial antioxidants neutralize enzymes that damage collagen and connective tissues. Excessive damage can lead to frequent high blood sugar levels, causing further damage to blood vessels. Anthocyanins help repair and restore collagen, making blood vessels strong and improving blood flow.
Purple carrots are even higher in antioxidants than orange carrots, and they also possess anti-inflammatory properties. This could make them very useful in the treatment of arthritis.
Purple carrots contain high doses of Vitamin A, which helps to prevent clogging of the arteries and thus helps to prevent strokes. Along with that, they also contain vitamin B, C and E as well as calcium pectate, which is a very good source of fibre, and they help to lower cholesterol levels.
A list of some of the most common purple and black carrot varieties:
Purple Haze, Indigo, Maroon, Purple Dragon, Cosmic Purple & Purple Dutch
Links to Sources:
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