Carrots have been called a super food and with good reason. These amazing vegetables are not only good for your eyes but can also help prevent certain cancers and heart disease. They can do wonders for the skin and teeth as well. Carrots are readily available throughout the year and can be prepared in a number of different ways.
When selecting carrots for purchase, make sure that they are firm and have a bright color. The deeper the orange color the more beta-carotene will be present. If buying with the greens still on top, make sure the greens are brightly colored and feathery. The thicker the carrot the sweeter it will be.
When stored in the proper way, carrots will stay fresh up to two weeks. If bought with the greens attached, the greens should be removed immediately before storage. Otherwise the greens will steal the moisture from the carrots and cause them to go bad sooner. Carrots should be kept in the refrigerator, preferably in the crisper where they will be kept cool. A plastic bag will help keep the moisture and nutrients in them.
Preparing carrots is a cinch. If they are organic, a quick washing with a vegetable brush will be needed. If not organic and there is the danger of pesticides or chemicals present, you may want to peel them first. These vegetables can be left whole, shredded, julienned, grated or sliced. Raw or cooked they are delicious and hold their nutrients well. Studies have found the best way to cook them is to steam them. The flavor is at its best and nutrients are retained. Juicing carrots is another alternative.
Benefits to Health
Beta-carotene is found in abundance in carrots. This is the antioxidant that fights the free radicals which can contribute to cancer and heart disease. Beta-carotene also converts to vitamin A, which is said to help vision. Lack of vitamin A can lead to night blindness. The antioxidants and fiber help in combating inflammation.
Studies have been performed which showed that diets high in carotenoids had a lower risk of heart disease among participants. Cholesterol levels in these studies were lowered also. The risk of stroke was less if a person ate at least six carrots a week according to Harvard University research.
Carrots help to clean teeth when munched on after meals. They have a natural abrasive, which is good for removing dirt from the teeth and helps stimulate the gums. Minerals found in the vegetable help to kill germs.
In addition, eating carrots can help an uneven skin tone. The vitamin A and other nutrients found in these vegetables help to prevent dry skin and other types of skin blemishes. If you have acne problems, eating carrots regularly can help.
Carrots are root vegetables that have many advantages. Beta-carotene is good for a person’s health from early childhood to the senior years. A few servings a week is all that is needed to benefit from them. They are found throughout the year at your grocery store or produce stand and easy to prepare. Eating carrots regularly can lead to good health.