Carrots are one of the first vegetables to be cultivated, and they are the ultimate health food, 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 evidence, carrots are known for their eye health benefits.
The fact is that carrots do provide additional benefits that you may not be aware of. The carrot is a colorful and nutrient-rich food that you do not want to miss out on.
Carrots are well-known for improving eye health. The antioxidants found in carrots are known as carotenoids. These nourish and protect the eyes and provide health benefits throughout your entire body.
After eye health, carrots supply the necessary nutrients to promote bone health. With osteoporosis affecting millions, it is important to include essential nutrients in your diet to prevent this disease.
Carrots contain vitamin K, phosphorus, and calcium, all of which support bone health.
♦ Calcium: Calcium is the mineral most commonly associated with bone health. Calcium is the main mineral needed for bone growth and is not made by the body, so it needs to come from your food. Osteoblasts are the cells that form new bone, and they use calcium to do this. Calcium cannot maintain bone health alone. It requires other minerals to effectively promote bone growth and strength.
♦ Vitamin K: Vitamin K works alongside calcium to build strong bones. It activates the calcium-binding actions of proteins that build and maintain bones. Without adequate levels of vitamin K, calcium cannot bind to the bone matrix, and bones will weaken.
♦ 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 maintain bone health. Calcium is unable to build strong bones without phosphorus, but it is important to keep them in balance. Too much of one mineral can impair the beneficial functions of the other.
The nutrients in carrots also work to support your health in other ways.
♦ Boost Heart Health: The potassium in carrots helps regulate blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, so in reducing this, carrots can be part of a heart-healthy diet.
♦ Fight Cancer: Plant compounds are powerful antioxidants, and the ones in carrots (carotenoids) are no different. Diets rich in carotenoids have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, including prostate and lung cancers.
♦ Manage Diabetes: High-fiber diets have been shown to reduce the risk and complications of diabetes. Fiber slows digestion, which regulates blood glucose levels. Carrots also score low on the glycemic index, which means they are not likely to trigger a blood sugar spike.
♦ Boost Immunity: The vitamin C in carrots help support your immune system function. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, and collagen is required for wound healing. Vitamin C also can be found in immune cells that help the body to fight disease.
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 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes zest and juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
In The Morning
Soak the chickpeas overnight or in the morning.
1/2 cup of dried garbanzo beans= 1 1/2 cup soaked/cooked.
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.
Make The Dressing
Whisk together olive oil and lime juice.
Add in spices & whisk again.
Combine & Serve
Combine the carrots, onions, dates, and beans, and toss with dressing.
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!)
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.
2. On a baking tray, mix the carrots with the extra virgin olive oil, half of the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
3. Roast for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
4. Take out the carrots, shake the pan to move the carrots around then add the remaining balsamic vinegar and sunflower seeds.
5. Roast for another 5 minutes or until they are tender.
6. Garnish with the fresh thyme and enjoy!
Photo and Recipe Credit: skinnyms.com | Rowena Dumlao-Giardina (Thanks a lot!)
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).**
2. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a small bowl.
3. Stir the steak/burger seasoning into the coconut oil and set aside.
4. Wash and peel the carrots. If the green tops are still attached, cut the tops to about 2 inches in length.
5. Brush the coconut oil mixture on the carrots, coating evenly.
6. Place the carrots on the grill, and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
7. Serve with your choice of entree 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.
**If you don't have a BBQ grill, feel free to use a cast iron grill pan on the stovetop.
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, but they are also low in calories. The power of carrots comes from the antioxidant carotenoids that protect your health.
Carrots are versatile and a tasty way to improve eye health, bone health, heart health, immunity, and even support weight loss.