Carrots: The Jewels of the Earth

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Carrots: The Jewels of The Earth! Ok, maybe no one has ever called them that.  But, carrots are a kind of gateway vegetable that most people can convince themselves to eat. And, like most things in life, making healthy choices is mostly in the perspective you choose. You can either think of them as mildly palatable vegetables or as crisp and snappy orange bursts of happiness that help you feel like a superhero. I vote for the second option, please!

If you would be so kind, allow me to be the PR person for the humble carrot for just a moment. These little powerhouses are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene, a nutrient that boosts the immune system, protects cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, helps your reproductive system function properly, and provides a source of vitamin A. You see, the good stuff in carrots stimulates the production of immune cells that protect the body from all types of infection, guards against cardiovascular disease, reduces inflammation, and slows the aging process. [1]

More specifically, a 10-year study from the Netherlands about carrot intake and risk of cardiovascular disease found that orange/yellow foods were the most protective against Cardiovascular Disease. And, carrots were determined to be the most prominent member of this dark orange/yellow food category. Participants who ate at least 25 more grams of carrots (with 25 grams being less than one-quarter of a cup) had a significantly lower risk of Cardiovascular Disease.

But wait, there’s more! Recent research has focused on another category of nutrients in carrots called polyacetylenes. While much more research is needed in this area, lab studies have shown the ability of carrot extracts to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. In studies of carrot juice intake, small but significant effects on colon cell health have been shown for participants who consumed about 1.5 cups of fresh carrot juice per day. [2]

Is that enough evidence for you? It’s got me hooked! So I scoured the interwebs, looking for the most delectable carrot recipes out there. This, my friends is what I found…

Obviously, you can just throw a few carrots in the juicer and have straight carrot juice, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add a few more veggies to carrot juice party.

 

You could also try roasting the little sprigs of goodness with ginger, and adding a miso dressing after they come out of the oven. Yum. So Gourmet.

 

Carrots for breakfast? Yes, please!! How about Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal, via Green Kitchen Stories.

carrots: startwithfourwalls.com

 

Perfect for a cold day when you want something hot and spiced to melt the icicles off your nose is SmittenKitchen’s Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisp Chickpeas.

Carrots: startwithfourwalls.com

 

Oh hey! Don’t forget about the carrot tops! They make a great pesto.

Update: Some people may be allergic to the leafy green carrot tops, so please eat with caution, or not at all if you suspect you may be allergic.

What’s your favorite carrot recipe? I’d love to know!

[1] Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003 via mynewroots.org

[2] whfoods.org

2 Comments

  1. Joann

    April 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I tried the roasted carrots and added miso dressing right before serving. Wonderful! This will be a new way for me to prepare carrots. I recommend it..

    • Nicole Bedford

      April 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you so much. My New Roots has the best healthy recipes. Her raw brownies are amazing as well!

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