Sunday, August 17, 2008

Carrots For The Colon

Three groups of rats were fed: 1
  • Carrots with their normal diet.
  • A component of carrots (an amount equal to that present in the carrot group) with their normal diet.
  • Normal diet, less carrots.
"Dietary treatments with carrot and [carrot component] delayed or retarded the development of tumors" of the colon by a third compared to the carrotless group.
The carrot component thought to be responsible for this is falcarinol. Here's the neat thing ...
"Falcarinol is a natural pesticide found in carrots and red ginseng (Panax ginseng), which protects them from fungal diseases, such as liquorice rot that causes black spots on the roots during storage." 2
This is one reason why organic produce can be more nutritious. Plants are stressed by organisms. Herbicides and pesticides kill off these organisms in conventional crops. Organically raised plants will manufacture more of their own defensive chemicals ... in this case the natural pesticide falcarinol.

The authors used freeze-dried carrots, ordinary orange ones, which they say would be equivalent to raw carrots. They don't know if cooked carrots or carrot juice would produce the same effect. One of the researchers, Dr. Kirsten Brandt, extrapolated these findings in the recommendation: "consumers should eat one small carrot every day."
1 Inhibitory Effects of Feeding with Carrots or (-)-Falcarinol on Development of Azoxymethane-Induced Preneoplastic Lesions in the Rat Colon, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2005
2 Wikipedia: Falcarinol

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