In addition to being one of the most popular root vegetables in the U.S., carrots are one of the richest food sources of pro-vitamin A alongside alfalfa greens. Known for its role in maintaining healthy eyes and skin, carrots are also beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer. It’s name comes from the Greek word “karoton” which is used to designate anything with a horn-like shape.

Disease/Ailment:

Disorders of the retina

Skin disorders

Cardiovascular prevention

Cancer prevention

Health benefits:

Eye disorders: Due to their high beta-carotene content, carrots are essential in maintaining healthy retinas and treating diseases of the eye. Once consumed, beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and essential for proper functioning of the retina, particularly for night vision.

Skin disorders: Beta-carotene is also important in keeping the skin and mucosa in optimal condition and preventing degradation.

Cardiovascular prevention: Due to the antioxidant qualities of carotenoids and vitamin C, carrots are directly linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Good source of:

Vitamin A, K, C, potassium

Purchasing, Storing, & enjoying:

Purchasing: Carrots should be firm, smooth, and relatively straight and vibrant in color. The deeper the orange color, the more beta-carotene is present in the carrot. If green tops are attached, they should not be wilted.

Storing: Carrots can keep fresh for up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or airtight container. They should be stored away from other fruits and vegetables that will produce ethylene gas and cause the carrots to taste bitter. If purchasing carrots with attached green tops, remove the tops before storing the refrigerator. Keeping the greens attached will cause the carrots to wilt and lose moisture.

Enjoying:

  • In salads whole or grated and dressed with lemon juice.
  • The healthiest way to cook carrots is by steaming them. They combine well with potatoes and other vegetables and taste sweeter when cooked and still maintain the beta-carotene content after cooking.
  • Carrot juice makes a refreshing beverage and combines well with apple juice or lemon juice. For a twist, try adding a plant-based milk to make a deliciously creamy carrot juice.

Resources & recipes:

Carrot Spice Muffins: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/04/11/vegan-carrot-spice-muffins-for-grandpa/

Carrot Curry Soup: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegan-carrot-curry-soup/

Carrot Dogs: http://fatfreevegan.com/blog/2012/04/10/easy-and-healthy-carrot-dogs/

 

References:

de Jesus Ornelas-Paz J , Yahia EM and Gardea-Bejar AA. Bioconversion Efficiency of B-Carotene from Mango Fruit and Carrots. Vitamin A Journal: American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Science Year: 2010 Vol: 5 Issue: 3 Pages/record No.: 301-308. 2010.

Imsic M, Winkler S, Tomkins B et al. Effect of storage and cooking on beta-carotene isomers in carrots ( Daucus carota L. cv. 'Stefano'). J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 28;58(8):5109-13. 2010.

Kjellenberg L, Johansson E, Gustavsson KE et al. Effects of harvesting date and storage on the amounts of polyacetylenes in carrots, Daucus carota. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Nov 24;58(22):11703-8. Epub 2010 Oct 21. 2010.

Lemmens L, Colle IJ, Van Buggenhout S et al. Quantifying the influence of thermal process parameters on in vitro B-carotene bioaccessibility: a case study on carrots. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Apr 13;59(7):3162-7. Epub 2011 Mar 15. 2011.

Matejkova J and Petrikova K. Variation in Content of Carotenoids and Vitamin C in Carrots . Notulae Scientia Biologicae Year: 2010 Vol: 2 Issue: 4 Pages/record No.: 88-91. 2010.

Nicolle C, Simon G, Rock E et al. Genetic Variability Influences Carotenoid, Vitamin, Phenolic, and Mineral Content in White, Yellow, Purple, Orange, and Dark-orange Carrot Cultivars. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci., Jul 2004; 129: 523-529. 2004.

Oude Griep LM, Monique Verschuren WM, Kromhout D et al. Colours of fruit and vegetables and 10-year incidence of CHD. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jun 8:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]. 2011.

Rennie C and Wise A. Preferences for steaming of vegetables. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010 Feb;23(1):108-10. Epub 2009 Nov 23. 2010.

Tang G. Bioconversion of dietary provitamin A carotenoids to vitamin A in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1468S-1473S. Epub 2010 Mar 3. 2010.

Theodosiou M, Laudet V and Schubert M. . From carrot to clinic: an overview of the retinoic acid signaling pathway. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. Basel: May 2010. Vol. 67, Iss. 9; p. 1423-1445. 2010.

Zidorn C, Johrer K, Ganzera M et al. Polyacetylenes from the Apiaceae vegetables carrot, celery, fennel, parsley, and parsnip and their cytotoxic activities. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 6;53(7):2518-23. 2005.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21


About the Author

Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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