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This is a popular root vegetable, the plant being a hardy European biennial (producing a root in the first year, and if left in the ground, a flower in the second), belonging to the umbelliferae family, which also includes celery, parsley and parsnips - as well as hemlock.
Most wild carrots have white roots, but it"s been cultivated in Britain since the 16th century, and orange rooted varieties developed; but it was certainly known to the Romans. All are high in sugar and orange varieties contains carotene, which can be converted by the liver into vitamin A. In North America, it has escaped from cultivation, and become a pernicious weed in many areas.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, a vitamin A precursor; and also contain vitamins B1 and B2 and the minerals potassium, sodium and silicon. They are thought to help night vision, inhibit cataracts, treat indigestion and protect against cancer.
It's not recommended that the intact of carrot juice should exceed that of 2 pints a day, since over-consumption can cause yellowing of the skin, a condition known as 'xanthosis'.
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