Carrots are the ultimate health food and were one of the first vegetables to be cultivated, and they also have a history in folklore. Past generations would tell stories about carrots helping us see in the dark. Because of this and scientific research, carrots are most often associated with eye health benefits.
The fact is that carrots do more than support healthy vision. There are numerous health benefits to eating carrots, making them a nutrient-rich food you do not want to miss out on.
Carrots are well-known for supporting eye health. The antioxidants found in carrots are known as carotenoids. These nourish the eyes and provide health benefits throughout your entire body.
In addition to eye health, carrots supply the necessary nutrients to promote bone health. Carrots contain vitamin K, phosphorus, and calcium, all of which support your bones.
♦ Calcium: Calcium is an essential mineral for bone growth, but it cannot be made by the body. This means you must get calcium from food. Osteoblasts are the cells that form new bone, and they use calcium to do this. To most effectively promote bone growth and strength, calcium requires other minerals.
♦ Vitamin K: Vitamin K works alongside calcium to support bone density. It activates the calcium-binding actions of proteins that build and maintain bones. With the help of vitamin K, calcium is better able to bind to the bone matrix for optimal bone density support.
♦ Phosphorus: 80% of the phosphorus in your body is found in the teeth and bones. This mineral works in a delicate balance with calcium to support bone health. Calcium and phosphorus work together to promote bone density, but it is important to maintain a healthy balance, as too much of one mineral can impair the beneficial functions of the other.
The many nutrients in carrots also work to support your health in other ways.
♦ Heart Health: The potassium in carrots helps support healthy blood pressure and circulation.
♦ Cellular Health: The carotenoids in carrots help promote antioxidant capacity, supporting healthy cell growth and aging.
♦ Blood Sugar: High-fiber diets have been shown to support healthy blood sugar maintenance. Fiber slows digestion, which helps maintain glucose absorption and blood sugar level maintenance.
♦ Immune System: The vitamin C in carrots helps support immune system function. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which helps support the body's natural ability to heal. Vitamin C also supports immune cell activity for proper immune responses.
1. Farmers Market Moroccan Carrot Salad
4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans*
8 dates pitted
4 green onions
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 Tbs olive oil
2 limes zest and juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1. Soak the chickpeas overnight or in the morning. 1/2 cup of dried garbanzo beans= 1 1/2 cup soaked/cooked.
2. Shred the carrots (a food processor makes fast work of this). Chop the dates into large chunks. Slice the white and light green parts of the green onion. Chop nuts.
3. Make the dressing by whisking together olive oil and lime juice. Add in spices & whisk again.
4. Combine the carrots, onions, dates and beans, and toss with dressing.
5. Top with cilantro and pistachios. Serve and enjoy!
*1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans = 1 1/2 cup cooked or canned. For this salad the dried ones do taste better and have a slightly crunchier texture.
Photo and Recipe Credit: askthefoodgeek.com | rockridgekitchen.com (Thank you!)
2. Roasted Balsamic Carrots
1 pound baby (or regular) carrots, peeled
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a baking tray, mix the carrots with the extra virgin olive oil, half of the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Roast for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
3. Take out the carrots, shake the pan to move the carrots around then add the remaining balsamic vinegar and sunflower seeds.
4. Roast for another 5 minutes or until they are tender.
5. Garnish with the fresh thyme and enjoy!
Photo and Recipe Credit: skinnyms.com | Rowena Dumlao-Giardina (Thanks a lot!)
3. Smoky Grilled Carrots
8 medium, organic carrots
1/4 cup coconut oil*
2 Tablespoons steak or burger seasoning
1. Preheat your grill to about 400 degrees (or a medium flame), or use a cast iron grill pan on the stovetop.
2. Melt the coconut oil in a small bowl. Stir the steak/burger seasoning into the coconut oil and set aside.
3. Wash and peel the carrots. If the green tops are still attached, cut the tops to about 2 inches in length. Brush the coconut oil mixture on the carrots, coating evenly.
4. Place the carrots on the grill, and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
5. Serve with your choice of entrée and enjoy!
*You may substitute olive oil, avocado oil, or butter for the coconut oil to change
up the flavor or if you don't have coconut oil.
Photo and Recipe Credit: caboose-spices.com | Caboose Spice & Co | Abilene Depot
Carrots make the perfect snack or addition to any meal. They are full of nutrients and flavor and are also low in calories. The health benefits of carrots come from the antioxidant carotenoids, and there is so much these compounds can do for you. Carrots are a versatile and tasty way to support bone, eye, heart, immune, and whole-body health.