They may sound like something out of Alice in Wonderland, but purple carrots are not only real, they’re being positioned as the next super-food. A new Australian study (video below) has shown the ancient carrot variety is high in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that are stabilising bodily functions.
”They’re the original carrots, from ancient Persia,” explained the study author Lindsay Brown, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Southern Queensland.
Purple carrots are one of a vast range of fruit and vegetables almost lost in the age of single supermarket varieties. Claims have long been made about purple carrots’ health benefits, but until recently these remained untested.
Professor Brown ran a pre-clinical trial on rats, using purple carrots grown in Queensland. For 16 weeks, the rats were fed a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet designed to mimic the effects of an unhealthy western diet. The rats quickly grew fat, developed high blood pressure, became glucose intolerant (or pre-diabetic) and incurred liver and heart damage. Then, for the second eight weeks, the scientists added purple carrot juice to the rats’ food. The results, to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition, surprised even the researchers.
”Everything went back to normal,” Professor Brown said. ”The blood pressure went down, the collagen in the heart was back to normal, the liver histology was back to normal, the liver enzymes, the glucose tolerance, the fat pads were all back to normal, despite continuing this … terrible diet.”
There are up to 28 times more anthocyanins – the antioxidant that creates the purple-red pigment in blueberries and raspberries – in purple carrots than there are in orange ones.
We have included an interview below of Dr Lindsay Brown, professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Southern Queensland and additionally information from professor Virginia Walbot Standford University Biology Department detailing anthocyanins and their effects on the body.