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Carrots – The Storehouse Of Acne Removal Nutrients

dr jaggi rao Reviewed by Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Carrots are an extremely beneficial means to acne removal nutrients. They are inherently capable of keeping the sebum secretion at optimum levels and ensures that no excess is secreted which could lead to complications. Carrots not only protect the skin from harmful UV rays from the sun but also help to enhance the skin’s natural texture. And it has also been shown to slow the aging process.

Eating carrots will help you reduce acne faster. It contains Vitamin A in form of beta-carotene which effectively works against acne.

All these beneficial effects derived from carrots are due to its extremely effective anti-oxidative property and high content of vitamins which work wonders on the skin. Carrots are excellent acne removal nutrition but show no adverse effects.

Other foods, like eggs, also offer acne removal nutrition by way of proteins but this is nowhere near what carrots have to offer. Then there are cosmetic formulations that remove acne but nutrition rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants is far superior as they work from the inside out.

This write up looks at the effectiveness of carrots as an excellent source of acne removal nutrition that is both easily available and convenient to eat.

Carrots And Calories

When comparing the recommended daily allowances of carrots to other vegetables, it offers only average benefits of nutrition for acne removal. For example, 100 grams of carrots contain just 10% of RDA for vitamin C as against 148% contained in broccoli. The RDA for magnesium and vitamin E stands at 3% each and is zero mg for zinc.

However, where carrots out scores almost all other sources of acne nutrition is in the content of vitamin A and anti-oxidants. The vitamin A content in carrots is natural plant based and the anti-oxidants are carotenoid based.

428% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A can be obtained from 128grams of chopped carrots or about a cup full. And this is available as a plant derivative carotenoid which exhibits an extremely powerful anti-oxidative property. There are various carotenoids that are available in carrots like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.

Vitamins are absolutely necessary for proper skin health. Vitamin E cleanses blocked skin pores while vitamin C takes care of skin protection. But vitamin A is perhaps the most efficient source of natural vitamin that can control excess sebum secretion. This action is brought about by vitamin A molecules that binds itself to specific receptors on the sebaceous glands and prevents the process of sebum secretion.

Carrots contain almost no calories and this again is a big advantage making them more preferred over the sweet potato with 283% of recommended daily allowance, pumpkins, spinach or even kale. The low calorific content of carrots gives it the edge. With just 53 calories available in a cup of carrots out of which 7 don’t actually exhibit any calorific function as they are fiber based, the actual calorific content may be taken to be 46. Contrary to popular belief, one gram of fiber has only 1.75 calories and not 3.75. This means carrots can be consumed without the thought of gaining weight.

Sweet potatoes on the other hand are a good source of nutrition for cleansing skin but the down side is its high calorific content which runs into hundreds. They are best suited for after gym workouts or for one’s daily energy needs.

Carrots also offer a convenient and easy way of intake of its benefits. They can be added to salads, as garnishing in soups or they can be simply eaten raw without losing out on any of its vital ingredients. Sweet potatoes or kale on the other hand, need to be prepared before they can be consumed.

Carrots And Carotenoids

Carrots are a rich source of natural vitamin A which is basically a carotenoid derived from plants. And these need to undergo conversion before they are able to manifest qualities of vitamin A and improve acne conditions. There are more than six hundred plant based carotenoids that have been identified in nature and only few among these can be converted. These include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. The remaining unidentified carotenoids manifest their activity as anti-oxidants and prevent free radicals from becoming active.

Besides removing acne through the anti-oxidative process, the carotenoids in carrot, like lycopene and lutein, also bring about other beneficial effects on the skin. The following factors highlight this aspect.

Improvement in Skin Tone – Several scientific studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of carotenoids on skin. One study found that carotenoids significantly improved skin color by accumulating at the level of the skin when consumed and another study found that they contributed to the common ‘skin glow’.

In another study, fruits and vegetables were given to 35 people and at the end of six weeks the researchers concluded that carotenoids brought about a noticeable improvement in the tone of the skin. And for this improvement the fruits and vegetables had to be in the ratio of 3:3.

In yet another double-blind, randomized study, the efficacy of two carotenoids, namely, lutein and zeaxanthin were analyzed against placebo in 50 healthy volunteers. The volunteers were given either a combination of lutein and zeaxanthin or placebo. At the end of 12 weeks, the scientists concluded that the group receiving the carotenoids had a marked improvement in their skin tone as compared to the placebo group. This improvement can be attributed to the high carotenoid content in carrots.

UV Protection – To gauge the harmful effect of sun rays on skin the Minimum Erythemal Dose or MED is taken into account. MED measures the threshold till which point the skin can withstand the sunlight before becoming irritated and inflamed. The above study on lutein and zeaxanthin found significant increase in MED. The study concluded that carotenoids significantly provided UV rays protection and this was directly proportionate to its levels in the skin. This proved there would be less irritation to pimples in sunlight.

Retarding the Aging ProcessA South Korean research found that the length of telomere was extended by 2% by doubling the consumption of carotenoids. The length of telomere is the most significant factor when the aging of skin is considered. The research concentrated on alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin all of which are richly found in carrots.

The above studies have proved that by consuming more carrots, not only will it reduce the oily skin but also help improve skin tone.

The Safety Factor

Carrots are absolutely safe when it come to causing unwanted side effects. Unlike onions and tomatoes, the incidence of developing fresh pimple outbreaks or aggravating the already existing ones is not found when carrots are consumed.

Another cause of concern is intake of sugars. Certain fruits and vegetables though they exhibit benefits to fight acne but their intake have to be monitored. This is because of their sugar content. Pineapple is a case in point. Although it helps in the digestion of proteins, it has high sugar content. Carrots on the other hand have only 5grams/100 grams of sugar and what is more significant is that this sugar binds itself to large quantities of fiber which delays its absorption and reduces the risk of acne.

Carrots are low FODMAP foods and unlike tomatoes, garlic or onions, pose no problems to those who are FODMAP sensitive. Moreover, carrots have negligible amounts natural plant toxins. And those that do exist do not cause any adverse effect on acne.

However, carrots contain a psychoactive insecticide called myristicin, which causes a feeling of euphoria. This is purely to keep away pests and is a natural defensive mechanism. Besides carrots, nutmeg, dill, parsley and black pepper also contain myristicin. It is a forerunner to MDMA and many people hooked on ecstasy are fixated on eating nutmeg to get high. An overdose with this gives a similar intoxicated feeling as consuming alcohol in large quantities resulting in nausea as a side effect.

The content of myristicin in carrots is found in very small amounts and is safe for acne. Unlike other plant toxins which cause inflammation when ingested, myristicin on the other hand has been found to exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect.

Carrots also contain other toxins in miniscule amounts along with oxalates which bind with minerals to cause inflammation and precipitate acne in those who are sensitive to it. But unlike rhubarb or spinach, the amount of oxalates in carrots is extremely low which rules out any undesired side effects.

Like celery, parsnip and parsley, carrot is also a plant food which contains furocoumarins compounds. These compounds have the capacity to increase an individual’s topical sensitivity to the radiation of UV rays.

The above go to prove that carrots have inherent acne removal properties with very few unwanted side effects that could potentially aggravate the pre-existing conditions.

Added Benefits

Besides being a nutritious food source for removing acne, carrots also provide benefits that are extremely helpful for general well being when consumed regularly either raw, in salads or cooked.

Stress Reliever – The vitamin C content in carrots, although low at 10% of RDA as compared to 97% found in strawberries, is good enough when consumed regularly. The vitamin C content regulates the hormones related to stress; this action has a calming effect when more than 1000mg are consumed. Stress has been documented as a causative factor in acne formation. Further, it also helps in the production of a protein called collagen which is required for improving skin tone.

Joint Protection Supplement – Carotenoids have their own specific beneficial roles. For instance lucopene, mostly found in tomatoes but in higher levels in watermelons, is also found in carrots (1.22mg). This compound is being touted as being beneficial as a supplement to joint protection during exercise because of its powerful anti-inflammatory action.

Anti-inflammatory Source – The anti-inflammatory property of beta-cryptoxanthin was confirmed in a study to prevent any disease related to inflammation This action was brought about by consuming this carotenoid in equal proportion to freshly squeezed orange juice. And beta-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid found in carrots.

Improving Night Vision & Attention Span – A scientific study found that the carotenoids found in carrots improved the visual capacity of women during night. No other food with high content of carotenoids could bring about this improvement. In another study, the luteolin content of carrots was found to improve brain function.

Carrots offer an economical way to not only increase the levels of vitamin A in the skin and help in the removal of acne but also provide other health benefits.

Carrots And Avocado

There is no doubt that carrots help in removing acne but even better results can be achieved towards this end by consuming carrots along with fresh avocado. The logic is quite simple and scientifically backed up. The carotenoid anti-oxidant in carrots is fat soluble and requires a fatty medium to be optimally absorbed to produce the desired results. Any regular fatty medium from butter to olive oil can achieve this.

But a study which was conducted to compare the absorption of carotenoids when taken along with fresh avocado found that the absorption of the anti-oxidant increased by more than six times while the levels of alpha-carotene increased by more than four times. Moreover, there was 26% increase in the conversion of carotenoids into vitamin A.

Consuming a carrot/fresh avocado salad or combining them with any household fatty food will give the most benefits. The rule of thumb is using monounsaturated or saturated fats rather than polyunsaturated fats, as they allow for more efficient absorption of carotenoids.

Carrots need to be stored in a cool environment to keep their nutrients intact, especially the vitamin content.

Which Are Better – Organic Or Conventional Carrots?

Carrots do not fall under the highly pesticide contaminated food source nor are they devoid of any contamination. In fact 70% of carrot samples tested positive of linuron, a common pesticide which has the capacity of causing inflammation in humans when consumed.

There is also the possibility of arsenic intake from carrots that are cultivated in farms where the soil is depleted of natural nutrients and have been tilled with arsenic to remove the threat from pests. Arsenic is a known source of acne formation as it increases the production of keratin. Keratin increases the clumping of dead skin cells at the level of pores which leads to blocking of skin pores leading to acne.

The way around this is thoroughly washing and peeling the carrot so that the pesticides are removed.

Buying and consuming organic carrots, which is cheaper than other organic foods, is a safe way to enjoy the benefits of this nutritious food source. Organic carrots have very low levels of arsenic which can be easily removed and decontaminated. Moreover, organic carrots contain a high level of vitamin A which is extremely essential in the acne removal process.

The pesticide content of carrots is far less than apples and strawberries and they do not fall under the category of highly contaminated food source which has been mentioned earlier. Peeling a thick layer off gets rid of any last remaining traces of pesticides which then make it safe to be consumed without any worries. And being a cheap source of food, the loss of inner flesh due to thick peeling to get rid of pesticides, can be easily compensated by adding a few more to the preparation.

Final Thoughts

Several studies, research, and reviews have documented the efficacy of carrots as a nutritious food rich in nutrients that help in controlling the outbreak of acne and especially the secretion of excess of sebum. And including it diet is a simple and convenient method of taking advantage of all its nutrients; moreover, this nutritious food source can be consumed raw.

Regular consumption of carrots in any form will help in preventing the appearance of acne as well as improve skin health but without the risk of any side effects like inflammation or increased sugar levels.

But one thing needs to be kept in mind. Taking the consumption of carrots to an extreme level could make the skin turn orange. This is because the carotenoids begin to accumulate in skin cells and gives the skin the color orange. This condition called carotenoderma, maybe precipitated by impaired metabolism, as well as the excess consumption of carrots. But the condition can easily be reversed by reducing the intake of carrots.

The above write up clearly brings out safety as well as the efficacy of carrots as a nutritious acne removal food source.

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