Carrots as a superfood - Three things you (maybe) didn't know
Researchers at SDU have collaborated across disciplines for 15 years to uncover the preventive and healing properties of carrots.
Carrots reduce the risk of several types of cancerStudies have shown that a daily intake of carrots can reduce the risk of colon cancer, lung cancer, and possibly pancreatic cancer and leukemia.
"In a population study*, we showed that people who ate raw carrots daily had a 17 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer," says Morten Kobæk Larsen, associate professor at the Biomedical Laboratory and Surgical Research Unit, Clinical Institute.
"We have since repeated the analyses of this population study and found that those who ate carrots every day also had a 24 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. The analyses also indicated that carrot consumption may reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer and leukemia."
*A population study is based on anonymous data from Danish health registries. These are linked to questionnaire surveys where respondents have answered how often they eat carrots.
Carrots combat inflammation in the body's cells-In an experiment, we examined blood samples taken from both people who had not drunk carrot juice and people who had. If we stimulated these blood samples with a substance that triggers inflammation in the blood, we observed an inhibition of inflammation in those who had consumed carrot juice compared to those who had, explains Morten Kobæk Larsen.
Through experiments on cell cultures and animals, as well as registry studies on humans, the researchers have achieved results indicating that the substances falcarinol and falcarindiol from carrots inhibit inflammation and prevent the development of colon cancer.
Therefore, carrots appear to prevent cancer because the substances in them inhibit inflammation and as such precursors to cancer.
32 grams of carrot a day is enough
Eating two small carrots a day, which is equivalent to 32 grams, can reduce inflammation and the risk of cancer due to the presence of falcarinol and falcarindiol in carrots. Although these beneficial substances are found in high levels in old and wild varieties of carrots, they are still present in sufficient amounts in ordinary carrots sold in supermarkets.
In an upcoming project, patients who have previously had precursors to colon cancer removed will be instructed to consume 100 ml of carrot juice every day for a year. The juice is made from a special purple variety of carrots, which contains higher levels of falcarinol and falcarindiol than normal carrots.
At the end of the year, the patients will be examined and compared to a similar group of patients who did not consume carrot juice. The researchers will analyze the number and size of new precursors to colon cancer to determine the potential preventive effects of carrot juice.