Certain compounds found in carrots can help prevent many deadly diseases, new research reveals.ccharmon/Flickr

Certain compounds found in carrots can help prevent many deadly diseases, new research reveals.  Scientists from the FEMSA Center of Biotechnology at Technologic of Monterrey (ITESM) in Latin America have developed a new technology to extract phenolic compounds from carrots that help prevent cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases; and shikimic acid that is used to make the flu drug.

Daniel Alberto Jacobo Velázques and colleagues found that exposing carrots to stress through grating can help activate its metabolism. They used an herbicide that inhibits enzymes, known as glyphosate to modulate the carbon flow in the carrot's metabolism and thus accumulate plenty of shikimic acid and phenolic compounds in the plant tissue. Currently, genetic engineering is widely used to produce bioactive compounds in the plants.

"The first four parts of the research have been completed, we have figured out the mechanism by which the carrot produces this compounds when subjected to stress," Velázques, said in a news release.

Researchers said that phenolic compounds work as strong antioxidants to counteract free radical in the blood stream, and protect the body against many deadly diseases. "Now, we look for the optimization of the production so the plant tissue will secrete more of this compounds. Afterwards we'd like to extract them to produce dietary supplements and shikimic acid," Velázques, added. "The shikimic acid is the raw material that the pharmaceutical industry needs to produce Tamiflu, a useful drug in the treatment against flu."

The researchers said that their findings are particularly important as carrots are produced everywhere across the globe, unlike the star anise currently used to extract shikimic acid, which is only produced in China.  

Apart from the latest research, carrots have long been known for its health benefits. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, minerals, potassium, fiber, carbohydrates, folate, magnesium and vitamin B6.  

Following are some health benefits of carrots:

  • Helps improve vision
  • Protects tooth against damages
  • Prevents many types of cancers - prostate, breast, lungs, colon, bladder and larynx
  • Helps prevent cardiovascular diseases, like strokes and heart diseases
  • Helps regulate blood sugar
  • Prevents infection
  • Prevents damages to the skin caused by the sun
  • Helps look younger by slowing the ageing of cells