Top 7 Health Benefits of Eating Carrots

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benefits-of-carrots

Next to potatoes, the humble carrot is the second most popular vegetable out there.  If you’re like me, you probably buy both potatoes and carrots (and onions and celery) each and every week at the market.  I go through a lot of carrots, mostly because I make a lot of soups (with mirepoix).

Here’s a few good reasons to eat more carrots!

1. Protects Vision

Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene which converts into Vitamin A, and our retinas need Vitamin A.  Beta-carotene also helps protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.  People who eat the most carrots have a significant reduction in developing macular degeneration (some reports suggest by 40%).  Carrots are also a good source of lutein which supports good eye health.

2. Helps Prevent Cancer

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the antioxidant beta-carotene contained in carrots may help to protect our cells from oxidative stress which may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

3.  Cardiovascular Support

Studies show that diets rich in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.  Carrots are high in soluble fibers (mostly from pectin), and consuming carrots on a regular basis  (about a cup a day) have been shown to lower cholesterol levels.

4.  Detox/Cleanse

Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It helps to remove bile and fat in the liver. The soluble fiber found in carrots helps to clean out the colon and promotes waste movement.

5. Promotes Brain Health

People who eat more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less (according to a Harvard University study).  Eating more root vegetables (carrots) protect our brains from cognitive decline.  Middle-aged people who ate the lowest amount of root vegetables showed more than three times the amount of cognitive decline than those who ate the most carrots.  Beta-carotene found in carrots protects the central nervous system agains aging.

6.  Boosts Immunity

Vitamin A found in carrots is important for strengthening our immune systems.   It stimulates the production  of white blood cells, which plays a large role in protecting our bodies from diseases.  Vitamin A also regulates the release of immune cells in the gut.

7.  Anti-inflammatory Benefits

Inflammation is believed to be if not the root cause – then at least a contirbuting factor of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer and arthritis.  The Vitamin A provided in carrots offer anti-inflammatory properties.  Vitamin A is one of the most important anti-inflammatory vitamins out there.

Cooked or Raw.

Some research shows that lightly cooking carrots may actually help to boost their nutritional content, providing higher levels of beta-carotene and antioxidant properties.

Keep the Greens or Toss Them.

It’s best to remove the greens from the carrots for storing to prevent the greens from drawing out moisture and nutrients from the root

Here are a few recipes to help you incorporate more carrots into your diet.

Carrot Avocado Salad with Jalapeño Lime Vinaigrette by yours truly

Carrot Smoothie again by yours truly

Awesome Carrot Ginger Soup yes by yours truly

Healthy Carrot Muffins by Cookie and Kate

Mushroom and Chickpea Stew by Deliciously Ella

Banana Carrot Cake by My New Roots

Moroccan Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots by Gouremande In the Kitchen

Ginger Carrot Salad with Quinoa by Naturally Ella

http://ohshegloHeavenly Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal by Oh She Glows

 

Sources:

Whole Foods

Mercola

Mayo Clinic

 

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