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Could Carrots Be a Tool in Fighting Arthritis Inflammation?

Scientists in Queensland, Australia  certainly believe so. A team of researchers has been hard at work studying an ancient vegetable:  the original purple carrot, which is the cousin of the orange carrot.

As reported by Sky News, the team has been testing the carrots on rats to evaluate its anti-inflammatory properties. Results have demonstrated that the carrot decreases the effects of arthritis, which may be due to the fact that the vegetable has 28 times the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant levels of the orange carrot.

The purple carrot has its roots in Afghanistan, dating all the way back to the pre-900s, according to the  Carrot Museum website. The carrots existed in Central Asia for several centuries before being brought to the west by Arabs in the 10th century. Modern orange carrots are believed to be derived from two distinct groups of carrots: the Eastern carrot, which is purple and yellow with branched root; and the Western carrot which is yellow, orange, white, or red with unbranched root.

As reported by International Business Times, purple carrots are being touted as a superfood. The site features an interview with the Australian purple carrot study researchers that discusses the findings in detail.

The study found that the purple carrots contain 28 times more anthocyanins, which are the antioxidants responsible for the purple-red pigment in rasberries and blueberries. The rats in the study were given a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet for 16 weeks to "mirror the effects of an unhealthy Western Diet."

According to the study abstract, the "High-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats developed hypertension, cardiac fibrosis, increased cardiac stiffness, endothelial dysfunction, impaired glucose tolerance, increased abdominal fat deposition, altered plasma lipid profile, liver fibrosis and increased plasma liver enzymes together with increased plasma markers of oxidative stress and inflammation as well as increased inflammatory cell infiltration."

As the rat's health began to deteriorate, the team began to incorporate purple carrot juice and their health began to improve.  

The authors wrote, "Purple carrot juice attenuated or reversed all changes while β-carotene did not reduce oxidative stress, cardiac stiffness or hepatic fat deposition." The juice also improved "glucose tolerance as well as cardiovascular and hepatic structure and function."

The study will be published in the British Journal of Nutrition and is titled, "Comparison of purple carrot juice and β-carotene in a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rat model of the metabolic syndrome." The research was performed by researchers from the School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

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