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Carrots are rich in beta carotene, a free-radical fighting compound shown to protect against ultraviolet damage and help to enhance the immune system.
Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA) researchers
reported long-term benefits relating to general cognition and verbal
memory, among men taking beta carotene supplements (50 mg every other
day) for fifteen or more years. Because beta carotene is converted
into vitamin A in the body, the team suggests that beta carotenes exert
their protective benefits on cognition by preventing the build-up of
plaques associated with beta-amyloid deposits, which are associated with
loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s
As well, carrots may help promote cardiovascular health. In a study involving 559 men followed for fifteen years, a team from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) found that an increased consumption of alpha- and beta-carotene in the diet significantly reduced the risks of heart disease deaths. Specifically, the team found that the increased intake of carrots, rich in alpha- and beta-carotene, corresponded to a 17% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular-related death.
Crunchy and colorful, carrots are a smart choice for a mid-day snack or featured in a salad or side dish for dinner.