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.
Disorders of the retina
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.
- 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/
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