Carrots benefit the cardiovascular, glandular, and digestive/detoxification immune centers.
Carrot in front of your nose? Get it in your mouth, and your eyes will thank you. So will almost everything else below your line of vision.
If there aren’t carrots in your Monday-through-Sunday salads, lunch bags, soups, and juices, there should be. Here’s why you need to get on the stick.
Beta-Carotene for Better Vision. Thanks to their high beta-carotene content, carrots do more for your vision than almost any other single vegetable. Make that now-and-then carrot a one-a-day carrot, and you lower your risk of macular degeneration, as well as improve your night vision.
Good for the Gut. Moving south, Bugs Bunny’s comfort food is a comfort for your gastrointestinal tract and liver, too. Carrots contain complex sugars called oligosaccharides that prevent diarrhea by discouraging bad bacteria from attaching to the intestinal wall. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recommends carrots for colitis and other intestinal disorders. And like beets and burdock, carrots are a good, safe, liver-cleansing, and detoxification food.
Heart Health. And your heart isn’t far behind. The high-fiber content in carrots reduces LDL cholesterol and raises good HDL cholesterol, and the combination of fiber and carbohydrates boosts serotonin levels and creates a feeling of relaxation.
Anticancer Crunch. Your lungs will thank you, too, for opting for carrot juice instead of a cola. Studies show that eating one medium-sized raw carrot four times a week reduces your risk of lung cancer. Carrots even reduce your colon cancer risk, thanks to the phytochemical falcarinol.
Bone Boost. The vitamin K in carrots helps build bone (especially when paired with a dark K-rich green like chard).
Buying, Storing, and Preparing
- Look for deep red-orange—a signifier that the carrots are high in beta-carotene.
- Choose medium sized and slender, not big, which tend to be fibrous and tough.
- Go for crisp, not limp, carrots.
- Carrots beg to be juiced, and you should oblige. They combine well with parsley, beets, and dark leafy greens, and, of course, garlic.
- Cooked carrots give you more antioxidants than do raw carrots. Steaming for 5 minutes produces the most vitamin A and beta-carotene.
- Place raw washed carrots in a storage bag and refrigerate.