The wild carrot from which the current orange carrot was developed was white in color. From the wild white carrot they became purple and then the orange color we are now familiar with.
Carrots are members of the Umbelliferae family and related to parsnips, fennel, parsley, anise, caraway, cumin and dill.
Carrots are high in antioxidants one of the main ones beta-carotene was actually named after carrots. Antioxidants are important in the human diet as they help to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer in particular.
The consumption of carrots is believed to reduce the chances of developing cataracts which may explain why it is often thought that carrots are good for the eyesight.
Studies have shown that the consumption of carrots has slowed the development of colon cancer cells.
Carrots are best eaten raw or if cooked then steaming keeps the nutrients intact and tastes the best. Whilst boiled carrots are still beneficial there is more nutrient loss than raw or steamed carrots.
Excessive consumption of carrots can lead to carotoderma which is a discoloration of the skin where it develops an orange tinge and is thought to be when the body is unable to convert high intake levels of carotene in the carrots.