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Top 7 Health Benefits of Carrots

Did you know that the original carrot was small, forked, and was purple or yellow in color? It also had a bitter, woody flavor. It was not until the 16th century that Dutch growers developed the sweet and crunchy orange variety that is popular today. It’s the beta carotene that give carrots their orange color. But farmer’s markets and some specialty stores also offer carrots in other colors, including purple, red, and yellow. Well, enough of the trivia. We are here to discuss the top seven health benefits of carrots.

Health Benefits of Carrots

1. Good for Your Vision

Carrots are Good for Your VisionCarrots are a good source of vitamin A. A deficiency in vitamin A may result in xerophthalmia, a progressive eye disease that can develop into night blindness (difficulty seeing when the levels of light are low). So there’s some truth to the belief that this vegetable can help you see better in the dark.

Eating carrots is beneficial because a lack of vitamin A is one of the preventable causes of blindness in children. In addition, carrots contain the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, the combination of which may help prevent age related macular degeneration (a type of vision loss).

2. May Reduce the Risk of Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, too many free radicals may increase the risk of some types of cancer. The antioxidant effects of dietary carotenoids (orange, yellow, and red organic pigments that can be found in carrots and other vegetables) may reduce this risk. Two examples of carotenoids are lutein and zeaxanthin.

Prostate cancer – A 2015 studies review suggested a link between a carotenoids-rich diet and a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Leukemia – In 2011, researchers discovered that nutrients in carrot juice extract can kill leukemia cells and stop or slow their progression.

Lung cancer – In 2011, researchers found out that drinking carrot juice might help prevent the type of damage which leads to lung cancer in smokers. A 2008 meta-analysis meanwhile, revealed that participants with high intakes of carotenoids had a 21 % lower risk of lung cancer, compared to participants in control groups.

3. Digestive Health

Carrots May Improve Digestive HealthAccording to a 2014 research that gathered data from 893 people, consuming carotenoid-rich foods may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Another study reported that people who eat a high-fiber diet have a lower risk of colorectal cancer, compared to those who consume little fiber.

High-fiber foods promote gut health. A medium carrot contains 1.7 grams of fiber (5% to 7.6% of a person’s daily needs, depending on age). One cup of chopped carrots, meanwhile, provides 3.58 grams of fiber.

4. Diabetes Control

Carbohydrates make up about 10% of a carrot. About 30% of the carbohydrate content is fiber. A medium carrot contains 25 calories. Overall, a carrot is a low-calorie, high-fiber food that is low in sugar. It also scores low on the glycemic index or GI. The index can be used by people with diabetes to determine which foods are likely to raise blood sugar levels.

The GI score of boiled carrots is 39. This means that they’re unlikely to cause a blood sugar spike and are thus generally safe for diabetics to eat. Furthermore, authors of a 2018 review reported that eating a high-fiber diet might help prevent type 2 diabetes. High-fiber foods can also help people afflicted by type 2 diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels.

5. Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Health

Blood Pressure MonitorThe fiber and potassium in carrots are good for cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association encourages people to consume less salt and eat more foods that contain potassium (like carrots). Potassium helps relax blood vessels, lowering the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and other cardiovascular issues. A medium carrot provides about 4% of a person’s daily requirement for potassium.

Meanwhile, a 2017 review reported that people who eat a high fiber diet are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than people who eat little fiber. Consuming lots of fiber may also help reduce levels of low density lipoprotein (also known as bad cholesterol) in the blood.

6. Immune Function and Healing

Vitamin C is one antioxidant that carrots provide. It contributes to collagen production. Collagen is a component of connective tissue and is essential for wound healing.

Vitamin C is also present in immune cells that help the body fight disease. When the immune system of a person is healthy, it may help prevent a range of diseases. If you are unwell, your immune system has to work harder. This may compromise vitamin C levels.

Experts believe that taking vitamin C may boost immune system function when it’s under stress. For example, consuming vitamin C may reduce the duration and severity of a cold.

7. Bone Health

Carrots contain vitamin K, calcium, and phosphorus. All of these are good for bone health and may also help prevent osteoporosis.

Conclusion

Carrots are a versatile vegetable. You can eat them raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, or as an ingredient in stews and soups. They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Now that you know the health benefits of carrots, shouldn’t you start including them in your diet today?

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Hamstring Injury Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is a hamstring injury? A hamstring injury occurs when a person strains or pulls one of the hamstring muscles – a group of 3 muscles which run along the back of the thigh (from the hip to just below the knee). The hamstring muscles make it possible to contract the leg and bend the knee. When any of those muscles stretch beyond their limit during physical activities, injury can result. Read this article to learn more about hamstring injury symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Who Are Susceptible to Hamstring Injury?

Woman Playing TennisA person is more susceptible to a hamstring injury if he/she plays basketball, football, tennis, soccer, or other sports that involve sprinting, sudden stops, and starts. A hamstring injury can also occur more commonly in runners and dancers.

Causes of Hamstring Injury

A hamstring injury can occur if:

• You don’t warm up before exercising.
• The muscles in the front of the thigh (quadriceps) are tight as they pull the pelvis forward and tighten your hamstrings.
• You have weak glutes. The glutes and hamstrings work together. If your glutes are weak, the hamstrings may be overloaded and become strained.

Hamstring Injury Symptoms

Hamstring InjuryMild hamstring strain may not hurt too much. But severe injuries can be agonizing, making it impossible or painful to walk or stand. The symptoms of a hamstring injury include:

• Sudden and severe pain, along with a snapping/popping feeling,
• Pain in the back of the thigh when walking, bending over, or straightening the leg,
• Swelling,
• Bruising,
• Tenderness,
• Discoloration along the back of the leg,
• Muscle weakness, and
• Inability to put weight on the injured leg.

Diagnosis

To diagnose a hamstring injury, a doctor will give a thorough physical examination. He or she will ask specific questions on how the leg was injured. During the physical examination, the doctor will check swelling or points of tenderness on the back of the thigh. The location and intensity of the pain can help determine the extent of the damage.

The doctor might also move the injured leg into various positions to pinpoint which muscle was injured and determine if you have any ligament or tendon damage.

Imaging Tests

In a severe hamstring injury, the muscle can tear or detach from where it is connected to the pelvis or tibia (lower leg bone). In some cases, a small piece of bone can be pulled away (this is known as an avulsion fracture) from the main bone where the detachment occurs. X-rays can be used to check for avulsion fractures. Ultrasound and MRI, meanwhile, can visualize tears in the muscles and tendons.

Hamstring Injury Treatment

Minor to moderate hamstring strains may heal on their own. To speed up healing, you can:

• Rest your leg – If possible, avoid putting weight on your leg. If the pain is severe, you might need crutches until it goes away. The doctor will advise you if they are needed.

• Ice your leg – Do this to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days.

• Elevate your leg – When you’re sitting or lying down, elevate your leg on a pillow.

• Take anti-inflammatory painkillers – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) can help reduce pain and swelling. That said, these drugs can have side effects, such as an increased risk of ulcers. NSAIDs should be used only short term, unless a doctor says otherwise.

In more severe cases wherein the muscle is torn, surgery may be necessary. The doctor/surgeon will repair the affected muscles and reattach them.

Conclusion

Self-care measures such as ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications are usually all that are needed to relieve the pain and swelling of a hamstring injury. But in some cases, surgery may be needed to repair the hamstring muscle or tendon. We hope that this article about hamstring injury symptoms, causes, and treatment can help you avoid hamstring injuries when doing sports or other physical activities. If you have any questions about hamstring injuries, consult your doctor.

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What Causes Fatigue?

Do you want to know what causes fatigue? Fatigue is a term that refers to an overall feeling of tiredness and lack of energy. It is not the same as simply feeling sleepy or drowsy. Being sleepy is one symptom of fatigue, but it is not the same thing.

Types of Fatigue

Fatigued WomanThere are 2 main types of fatigue – physical and mental. An individual with physical fatigue might find it hard to do things he/she usually does, such as climbing stairs. Symptoms include muscle weakness. Diagnosis may involve completing a strength test. On the other hand, a person with mental fatigue may find it hard to concentrate and stay focused. He/she may feel sleepy and have difficulty staying awake while working.

Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue is associated with various lifestyle factors and health conditions. Listed below are the different causes of fatigue.

Lifestyle Factors

• Lack of sleep
• Being overweight or obese
• Lack of physical activity
• Periods of emotional stress
• Using recreational drugs
• Using alcohol on a regular basis
• Not eating a nutritious diet
• Consuming too much caffeine

Physical Health Conditions

• Anemia
Fibromyalgia
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Infections such as cold and flu
• Arthritis
• Addison’s disease, a disorder that affects hormone levels
• Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
• Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
• Autoimmune disorders
• Diabetes
• Cancer
• Liver disease
• Kidney disease
• Emphysema
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Hormonal contraception such as birth control pills
• Pregnancy

Mental Health Issues

• Stress
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Emotional exhaustion or burnout
• Bereavement and grief
• Boredom
• Seasonal affective disorder
• Eating disorders such as anorexia
• Life events, such as getting a divorce or moving home

Drugs and Medications

• Anxiety medications
• Some antidepressants
• Antihypertensives
• Steroids
• Statins
• Sedatives
• Antihistamines

Heart and Lung Conditions

• Pneumonia
• Asthma
• Arrhythmias
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• Coronary heart disease
• Valvular heart disease
• Congestive heart failure

Sleep Factors

• Insomnia
• Sleep apnea
• Working late
• Working different shifts
• Reflux esophagitis
• Narcolepsy
• Jet lag

Symptoms of Fatigue

Common symptoms associated with fatigue include:

• Daytime drowsiness
• Apathy and a lack of motivation
• Aching or sore muscles
• Gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
• Headache
• Irritability or moodiness
• Difficulty concentrating
• Vision problems such as blurriness
• Slowed response time

When to See Your Doctor

Consult your doctor if you are feeling fatigued and you:

• Cannot think of anything that may account for your fatigue
• Have experienced unexplained weight loss
• Have a higher than normal body temperature
• Regularly have trouble falling or staying asleep
• Feel very sensitive to colder temperatures
• Believe you may be depressed

If you’ve made significant changes to address the problem, yet your fatigue has continued for 2 weeks or more, talk to your doctor.

What Can You Do to Reduce Fatigue?

There are many things that can be done to help reduce fatigue. To boost energy levels and overall health, you can do the following:

• Practice healthy eating habits
• Drink enough fluids to stay hydrated
• Avoid known stressors
• Get enough sleep
• Exercise on a regular basis
• Take part in relaxing activities like yoga
• Avoid a work schedule that is overly demanding
• Abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs

Conclusion

Tired ManFatigue is a common symptom of various health conditions that can range from mild to serious. It is also a result of some lifestyle choices, such as poor diet or lack of exercise. If the fatigue that you feel does not resolve with adequate rest and proper nutrition, consult your doctor. He or she can help diagnose what is causing your fatigue and recommend ways to treat it.

These lifestyle changes can help lessen fatigue. It is also important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations for any diagnosed health condition. You should take this matter seriously. Left untreated, fatigue may take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

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