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Are Carrots Ok on The Candida Diet?

Posted 3/6/2021 by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP


Carrot (Daucus carota), usually orange-red in color, is a biennial plant from the Apiaceae family. Carrot is a vegetable root that also exists as a purple, black, red, and white cultivar. It was first originated in Persia. Early carrots were purple or yellow. In central Europe, orange carrots were developed in the 15th century. They are the domesticated form of the wild carrot Daucus carota, which are native to Europe and Southwestern Asia, usually cultivated for their seeds and leaves. Carrot seeds have been found in Southern Germany and Switzerland dated back to 2000-3000 BC (1). The most eaten part of the carrot plant is taproot; however, its leaves and stems are also eaten. The domestic carrot is selectively cultivated for its large, less woody taproot to minimize bitterness and enhance sweetness. China produces about 45% of carrots worldwide.

At first, a rosette of the leaves grows as the taproot expands. Fast-growing crops ripen in 3 months after the seed is sown, while more mature crops require one month longer. The roots are rich in alpha and beta carotene, both of which are a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6. Depending on its color, size, and location, this popular, versatile veggie can taste slightly different. Carrot sugar gives a slightly sweet taste but can also taste bitter or earthy. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. They also contain antioxidants. They are a rich source of carotenes and natural sugar with several health benefits. Carrots can be included in many popular diets, such as vegan, keto, paleo etc. They are also used in savoury dishes, such as beef stew, chicken pot pastry or brush (1).

1. Carrot _ Description, Domestication, & Cultivation _ Britannica.


Fresh-Carrots-on-a-Table

Nutrient Profile of Carrots

One serving of carrots (100 grams) contains 41 calories (2). They are a rich source of carbohydrates, sugar, fibers, and protein. These nutrients are necessary for daily body functioning. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.


Carbohydrates

One serving of carrots contains 9.58 grams of carbohydrates, including 4.74 grams of natural sugar. They make up 10% of the carrot, and most of it is sugar (2). They are low glycemic vegetables with a Glycemic Index of 39 (3). So, they are also suitable for diabetic people.


Fibers

One serving of carrots contains 2.8 grams of fibers (2). It is a relatively high fiber food. Fibers help to maintain normal blood pressure. They also help to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. It helps to attain a healthy weight and lower the chances of heart disease.


Protein

One serving of chopped carrots contains 0.93 grams of protein (2). It is utilized for daily body activities.


Carotene

One serving of carrots contains 8285 micrograms of beta-carotene (2). Carrots are rich in beta-carotene; they are good for your eyes. Beta-carotene is a compound that our body changes into vitamin A that keeps our eyes healthy and protects our eyes from various diseases and cataracts.


Vitamins and Minerals

Carrots are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and folate. One serving of carrots contains 13.2 micrograms of vitamin K, 835 micrograms of vitamin A, 5.9 micrograms of vitamin C, 3% of the body's daily calcium, 2% iron, and 7% body potassium (2). Vitamin C in carrots helps in the production of antibodies and facilitates the immune system. It also regulates the intake of iron in the body and prevents infection. They are involved in collagen production that forms the body's connective tissues that are essential for healing. Vitamin K has a role in bone health. Vitamin K, along with calcium, strengthens the bones and muscles. In carrots, vitamin A is converted into beta-carotene by a body that protects the eye and prevents blindness in children. It also prevents infection due to sunrays and inhibits cataracts. Consumption of carrot juice prevents and cures infections of the lungs due to small traces of vitamin B. Carrots provide 7% of the body's daily potassium requirements, important to regulate blood pressure. Phosphorus, along with vitamin k and calcium, prevents osteoporosis and keeps bones healthy.

2. Nutritional Value. Nutrition facts for Carrots, raw, recommended daily values and analysis. [Internet]. Nutrition facts exposed. 2021.

3. Carrot nutrition, glycemic index, calories and serving size [Internet]. Available from: https://foodstruct.com/food/carrots


Antioxidants in Carrots

The body contains free radicals that are unstable molecules disturbing the body's normal functioning when accumulated at high concentration. These accumulated free radicals must be removed; antioxidants help to remove them.

Antioxidants are a compound present in the body obtained from mostly plant-based food. Carrots are a rich source of antioxidants. The two main categories of antioxidants present in carrots are carotenoids and anthocyanins (4). A combination of carotenoids (beta-carotene) with vitamin K and C helps keep the eye healthy and prevent infections.

There are four main types of phytochemicals present in the carrots: phenolic, carotenoids, polyacetylenes, and ascorbic acid (5). These compounds reduce the risk of cancer and heart disorders. Theses antioxidants have an anti-inflammatory role that helps to reduce inflammation. Phenolic acts as antiaging agent and contributes to maintaining blood sugar and healthy cholesterol levels. They regulate the normal functioning of the nervous system and immune system. Polyacetylene also possesses antifungal characteristics (4).

4. Bozalan NK, Karadeniz F. Carotenoid Profile, Total Phenolic Content, and Antioxidant Activity of Carrots. Int J Food Prop [Internet]. 2011;14(5):1060–8.

5. Patras A, Tiwari BK, Brunton NP. Influence of blanching and low temperature preservation strategies on antioxidant activity and phytochemical content of carrots, green beans and broccoli. LWT - Food Sci Technol. 2011


Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots are a rich source of antioxidants with various health benefits. They are good for your eyes. Vitamin A is essential to keep the eyes healthy. Carrots contain beta carotenes which the body converts into vitamin A (6). This converted vitamin A helps the eyes to function normally and keeps eyesight active. Vitamin A is one of the most known carrot superpowers as it enhances vision. Vitamin A protects the eyes from the sun's harmful rays and lowers the chances of cataracts and other eye problems (6). Lutein present in yellow carrot is also good for the eyes. It helps to prevent muscular degeneration that can lead to loss of vision.

Carrots can reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidants play a supportive role by fighting free radicals and reducing cancer risk (7). Diet rich in carotenoids can reduce the risk of prostate cancer (7). Studies show that carrot juice has the essential nutrients to reduce leukemia. Carrot juice also helps to prevent lungs infection in smokers.

Carrots help to prevent constipation as they are a rich source of fibers. Fibers regulate bowel movements and keep the digestive tract function normal (8). Moreover, fibers have a role in lowering cardiac disorders by maintaining normal body weight.

Carrots also help to boost the immune system. Organic carrots have been found to boost antibodies that facilitates healing and strengthens the immune system in the gut (9). Carrots contain calcium and vitamin K, both important for bones and muscular growth. Diabetic people should use carrots regularly as they have a low glycemic index with high fibers that keep them healthy and active (7). Vitamin A and beta-carotene present in carrots can reduce the risk of getting diabetes. Phosphorus present in carrots reduces the risk of osteoporosis (6). Carrots have a preventive effect against the cardiovascular diseases as it contains polyphenols. Polyphenols, along with anthocyanins, have a significant role in improving cardiovascular health. Potassium in carrots keeps the blood pressure normal.

6. Chen BH, Peng HY, Chen HE. Changes of Carotenoids, Color, and Vitamin A Contents during Processing of Carrot Juice. J Agric Food Chem. 1995;

7. da Silva Dias JC. Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food Nutr Sci. 2014;

8. Sharma KD, Karki S, Thakur NS, Attri S. Chemical composition, functional properties and processing of carrot-A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2012.

9. Roselli M, Finamore A, Brasili E, Capuani G, Kristensen HL, Micheloni C, et al. Impact of organic and conventional carrots on intestinal and peripheral immunity. J Sci Food Agric. 2012


Negative Health Effects of Carrots

The negative health effect of carrots observed in some individuals is known as oral allergy syndrome. It can make the mouth itchy. If you are allergic to certain fruits and vegetables, your body reacts with the pollens (protein). When the carrots are cooked properly, itching does not occur.

Excessive beta-carotene consumption can turn your skin into an orange-yellow color; this condition is known as carotenemia (10). It is relatively inoffensive and can usually be treated. However, in extreme cases, the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A is reduced and affects the vision, bones, skin, metabolism, or immune system. Individuals who cannot change it to vitamin A may also have hypothyroidism (10).

10. Mikkelsen CS, Mikkelsen DB, Lindegaard HM. [Carotinaemia in patient with excessive beta-carotene food-intake and dysregulated diabetes mellitus]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2009


Carrots on The Candida Diet

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 medium raw carrot (61g).

Calories: 25

Fat: 0g

Sodium: 42mg

Carbohydrates: 6g

Fiber: 1.7g

Sugars: 2.9g

Protein: 0.6g

The amount of carbohydrates in one medium carrot is 6grams, which is more than acceptable on the Candida Diet. The sugar level of 2.9grams is not enough to hurt either. The glycemic index comes in at 16 which is very low.

One cup of cooked carrots comes in at 13grams of carbohydrates which is still low. Cooking carrots does make the carbs and sugars more bioavailable but even then the glycemic index is no higher than 49, which is below the generally accepted low level of 55.

Raw or cooked carrots are still recommended for daily consumption by diabetics so carrots would be ok on the Candida Diet. However, the Polyacetylenes in carrots do have anti-fungal abilities and we don't know if any of these are destroyed while cooking so it would probably be best to make sure you occasionally eat one raw.


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