The Health Benefits of Carrots
“You must’ve been eating your carrots…Big kids eat their carrots…You can see in the dark if you eat your carrots…” sound familiar? Growing up for sure you’ve heard any one of these sayings or at least something similar. Carrots – they’re great for you but why? In this post we talk about all things Carrots, and try to figure out, is there really something to what your mama once said?
Like any good detective, we ask the basics: who, what, why, where, when, and how?
Who wants carrots?
The domesticated variation of carrots native to Europe and Southwestern Asia, is wanted all over the world. According to Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
What’s a carrot?
Characterised as a root vegetable, they’re typically orange but you can also get less common varieties in purple, white, yellow and red. They are a type of taproot and are usually found in long conical shapes.
Why should you eat them?
- Prevent Heart Disease: An Edinburgh study found that 200 grams of raw carrots per day for at least three weeks can drop cholesterol levels by an average of 11%. Since high cholesterol is a major factor for heart disease and regular consumption of carrots reduces cholesterol levels, it is a good idea to consume a healthy dose of carrots, in order to prevent heart-related problems.
- Immune Booster: Carrots contain antiseptic and antibacterial abilities and are rich in Vitamin C which stimulates the activity of white blood cells.
- Improves Vision: Carrots are rich in Vitamin A which is great for improving eyesight and preventing conditions like night blindness from developing as we age. The word “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton” – beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself. Beta-carotene (also found in abundance in Carrots) protects against macular degeneration and senile cataracts.
Where can you find them?
Carrots are one of the most widely used and enjoyed vegetables in the world. They’re easy to grow and are super versatile.
When can you eat them?
Carrots are available all year round thanks to importing. If you want to grow them locally, they’re best in season most of the year except in winter months (June, July and August). When buying, look for young, tender, bright-colored roots with firm consistency, and avoid soft, flabby roots, with cuts or mould. Also, avoid overly large-sized roots as they can be an indication of over maturity, meaning poor eating quality.
How should you eat them?
Firstly, wash them and gently scrub before eating. Unless carrots are old, thick or not grown organically, you don’t need to peel them. If the stem end is green, it should be cut away as it will be bitter. Cook, grind, steam, boil, juice, chew them raw, puree them, shred them, slice them and add them into another dish…there’s a plethora of ways you can include carrots into your diet.