"Eh... What's up, doc?" Bugs Bunny may have encouraged generations of children to eat carrots, and that’s a truly wonderful thing! Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables in the world, and apparently one of the most recognizable to children.
Carrots are probably best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant nutrient that was actually named for them: beta-carotene, which is also what gives them their vibrant color. However, these delicious root vegetables offer so much more, including a wide variety of antioxidants and other health promoting nutrients. The most extensive research conducted on the effect of dietary intake of carrots on our health, is in cardiovascular benefits and anti-cancer benefits.
Eating carrots has been associated with reduced risk for several types of cancer including breast cancer. The high amounts of antioxidant carotenoids in carrots can reduce precancerous cell changes that may lead to the development of breast tumors.
Scientists believe that the alpha-carotene and beta-carotene in carrots reduce oxidative stress and free radicals in the body and therefore, reduce your cancer risk. It is worth including here that carrots have been found to be very beneficial in reducing the risk of lung cancer (among the top 3 cancers in women) probably due to their extremely high vitamin A content, which is vital to lung health.
Taking supplements of beta-carotene and vitamin A are not as beneficial as eating the carotenoid rich foods, nor nearly as delicious :) When possible, opt for organic carrots as conventionally grown carrots are among the most contaminated vegetables in terms of pesticides. If organic isn’t available to you, wash them thoroughly or peel them.
Carrots are also an excellent dietary source of fiber and contain some vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
As well as their antioxidant properties they have antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Their many other health benefits include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, improved vision and reduced signs of premature aging. They can also boost your immune system, improve digestion, detoxify the body and improve oral health. Whew!
Something I learned recently, is if you buy those pretty carrots with the green leafy tops, you should remove the tops before storing them in the refrigerator, because they will cause the carrots to wilt, as they pull moisture from the roots!
Time to cook!
We’ve all enjoyed a crunchy carrot stick with hummus or dip. Another super easy way to prepare them is to steam them. Simply fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Slice carrots ¼-inch thick and steam for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. To add a little pizazz, toss the carrots with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and your favorite herbs.
Carrot Apple Ginger Soup
I LOVE this soup recipe from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows www.ohsheglows.com
! In fact, I LOVE just about everything Angela Liddon makes. Her book “Oh She Glows”
is one of my absolute fav’s and is one of my go-to gift giving books!
Garlic Roasted Carrots
Colorful and delicious! This recipe for Garlic Roasted Carrots from Chungah at Damn Delicious www.damndelicious.net
is simple, quick and easy.
Baked Carrot Fries
I just had to include a little healthy fun with this wee treat fromHannah Healy at Healy Eats Real www.healyeatsreal.com
! The better fry... give them a try!
Did you grow up watching Bugs Bunny! Did he make you a carrot fan? Share below.