Carrots are regarded as one of the healthiest foods out there. Back in the day, when we were still kids, our parents used to tell us to eat carrots because they are good for our health, particularly for the eyes. However, it is still unknown how these root vegetables can be that good for your health. We will try to list all health benefits of carrots and explain in detail their effects on our well-being. Stay tuned!
Carrots are believed to have originated in the modern Afghanistan 5000 years ago, which is still the area of dozens of wild carrots varieties. In the early history of the vegetable, only the top greens were used for consumption, while the seeds were served as herbs. Back then, carrots could be found in purple, red, black and white, but not orange.
Eventually, the ancient world including Egypt was overwhelmed with carrots. There are even art depictions in pharaoh tombs in ancient Egypt suggesting that these carrots were of the purple variety. Ancient Greeks and Romans also used carrots for different purposes. The Greeks used them for medical purposes, whereas the Romans predominantly consumed carrots both cooked and raw.
Like many other vegetables, carrots were believed to possess aphrodisiac qualities. By the 13th century, carrots were cultivated throughout Europe. By the 16th century, the red and yellow carrots growing in England and purple and red varieties growing in France were well-known. Thanks to the Dutch botanists who crossbred the yellow and red varieties to obtain the orange variety, we have a carrot as we know it today. They wanted to obtain the orange varieties as it proved to have a much more pleasant taste, which was the gateway for the acceptance of carrots throughout the globe.
Carrots got to the United States in 1609. However, it took 300 years for them to become popular in the US. Namely, soldiers returning from World War I brought them from Europe where they developed a taste for the vegetable. In 2011, over 35 million tons of carrots and turnips were produced around the world with China producing almost half of that. The US produced approximately 1.3 tons in 2011.