The wonder of carrots

Carrots are full of nutritional goodies such as beta carotene, dietary fibre, potassium, folic acid, manganese. Sulphur, copper, carotenes, pectin, Vitamin K and zinc. It’s the beta carotene that gives the carrot its bright orange hue and our bodies convert this into Vitamin A in the liver. It’s the Vitamin A that is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision, so yes carrots do help us see in the dark.

Beta carotene has also been proven to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. Those people in the study who ate the most beta carotene saw their chances of cataracts drop by 40%.

Did you know: The brighter the colour of the carrot, the more beta carotene it contains Beta Carotene helps to slow down the ageing of cells, acting as an antioxidant. Want to retain that youthful glow? Dig out the bright orange carrots. Don’t eat too many though or you will look like an extra from the only way is Essex!

The Vitamin A and antioxidants also protect the skin from Sun damage so eat plenty along with applying a good SPF for fabulous skin. In fact Vitamin also prevents acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.

Studies have shown that the carotenoids in Carrots are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and that regular consumption of carrots can reduce cholesterol as the soluble fibres bind with bile acids.

If you struggle with healthy lunch box fillings Carrots are the perfect sweeter treat for children. Aside from all the obvious benefits the high fibre and fluids are good for constipation, whilst their astringent properties also help with diarrhoea. Both gentle effects are really effective for children and keeps them happy in the toilet department!

Raw carrots inhibit the activity of listeria and salmonella. If you feel dinner at a friends might be dodgy load up with raw carrot as it prevents and reduces the risk of food poisoning.

When it comes to the war on cancer carrots are an ally. They reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties.

Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating mice.

If you favour the occasional detox, carrots should be on the menu. Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibres in carrots help clean out the colon and help you go to the loo.

In a Harvard University study, people who ate more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month. Get crunching!

Carrots are a versatile vegetable and can be eaten raw, juiced, steamed, boiled, roasted and even the young leaves can be enjoyed on soups or salads, being rich in minerals.

An 80g portion of carrot contains 19 calories, 2g of fibre and 15mg of beta carotene (75% RNI of vitamin A) supporting skin, bones, eyes, hair, immunity and so much more. Aim for carrots around 2-3 times per week and enjoy the benefits.

Try

Melting 20g of butter in a pan adding onions, carrots and rosemary. Cover and cook for 20 minutes (adding water if the pan becomes too dry). After cooking stir in 5 tbsp. of cream or natural yoghurt for an indulgent treat

As a salad simply grate 500g of carrots and mix with the juice of an orange and lemon with a pinch of salt (and chilli if desired). Leave to chill.

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