10 Health Benefits of Carrots
Most of us are very familiar with carrots. This root vegetable actually originated in Asia. Carrots are easy to grow?in fact, they can be grown all year long in some mountain climates. This means that carrots are pretty much always available on your grocer’s shelf. Today carrots are one of the most popular vegetables in the U.S. and throughout the world. Just think of everything we do with carrots: We eat them raw; we cook them, we add them to our favorite stew and soup recipes; and we even use them in desserts like carrot bread and carrot cake.
Health Benefits of Carrots
But what you might not realize while you’re enjoying your favorite carrot recipe is that this root vegetable is also one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Carrots are high in beta-carotene and fiber, not to mention vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Just consider the nutritional advantages of the carrot:
Improves your vision: Carrots are a great source of vitamin A, which helps to improve eyesight. In addition to that, the beta-carotene in carrots actually lowers the risk of macular degeneration, a common vision problem as people grow older.
Reduces the risk of heart disease: Eating carrots and other root vegetables helps reduce cholesterol, which is a major risk factor in developing heart disease.
Reduces the risk of some cancers: Researchers have found that the consumption of beta-carotene helps to reduce the risk of some cancers; lung cancer, in particular.
Reduces the risk of stroke: Getting your daily dose of beta-carotene lessens your chances of having a stroke.
Helps in treating diabetes: Carrots contain carotenoids, and carotenoids affect insulin resistance and help to lower your blood sugar.
Aids in digestion: Carrot juice in particular helps to improve your gastrointestinal health.
Fights acne: Carrots help to rid your body of toxins in the blood and, as a result, are effective in fighting acne and evening out skin pigmentation.
Encourages youthful skin and fights against aging: The vitamin A and other nutrients in carrots help to nourish the skin. Carrot oil is especially effective in treating dry skin. And the beta-carotene in carrots helps the body fight cell damage and aging.
Helps clean teeth: Eating carrots actually cleans your teeth. Carrots act as a natural abrasive that helps maintain dental health the natural way.
Guard against muscle cramps: The potassium in carrots actually helps prevent your muscles from cramping.
Recipe Ideas for Carrots
Another benefit of carrots that we haven’t mentioned yet is the fact that they’re simply delicious. Just about any dish you can think of will be improved by adding carrots. If you’re interested in boosting the nutritional value of your meals, don’t forget the carrots.
- Try grating them on top of your favorite salad.
- They make a great addition to any soup or stew you can think of.
- Remember to add them to any stir-fry dish.
- Raw carrots and a low-fat creamy dressing make a tasty and healthy afternoon snack.
- Try combining diced carrots, chopped onions and cream of mushroom soup, then top with toasted breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for a yummy carrot casserole.
- Most of us know about carrot bread and carrot cake recipes, but grated carrots also make a fine addition to almost any quick bread or muffin recipes: add grated carrots to your favorite bran muffin recipe; include them in zucchini bread; and don’t forget to add grated carrots to your favorite cake mix for a quick way to add nutritional value.
- Try one of the many carrot soup recipes for a delicious, low-calorie replacement for a salad before dinner.
- Combine grated carrots, diced onion, low-fat cream cheese and white pepper for a deliciously different spread for crackers or bread.
- Use almost any kind of sweetener with cooked carrots?including brown sugar, honey or maple syrup?and you?ll create a side dish that the whole family will love.
The possibilities – just like the health benefits of this miracle vegetable are just about endless!
What Are You Waiting For?
By this time, you’re probably wondering if there are any negative aspects of this wonderful vegetable. The answer is none that we know of! With all these advantages, what are you waiting for? Any time of the year is a great time to enjoy this popular and healthy food because it’s available all year long. These tasty root vegetables are not only good for your insides they’re even good for your skin. It’s like having your own private medical spa in your refrigerator crisper! So the next time you’re looking to add a little extra flavor and a lot more healthy ingredients to your favorite recipe, look no further than the popular, always-available carrot.