“Vegetables are a must on every diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini and pumpkin pie.” said Jim Davis, the creator of the comic strip “Garfield.” A great quote heard often and taken humorously, but still has the undertones of eating your vegetables. As we know from many studies eating vegetables help us to live a longer and healthier life.
They are a vegetable that are often overlooked and made fun of, yet the health benefits are numerous. They are rich in vitamins A, C and K. They hold a lot of dietary fiber and potassium. Also, they have high levels of antioxidants and beta carotenes that are beneficial in helping us against cancers and heart disease.
They are a leader among the vegetable group, being one of the richest sources for carotenoids. They have been linked to a decrease in up to 50% in cancers, such as esophagus, bladder, larynx, cervix, colon and prostate. They have also been linked to a 20% reduction in postmenopausal breast cancer.
Medical research studies conducted with elderly patients concluded that those who ate at least a serving a day of squash or carrots have more than 55% reduction in odds of not having a heart attack, compared to those who had a lower level of carotenoid intake.
For optimal level eyesight, especially night vision, beta-carotene is very important. Having a very high level of antioxidants, they can also help provide some protection against getting macular degeneration; as well as cataracts, the primary cause of blindness in the elderly.
Research has proven that physiological levels and our bodies getting the required daily nutrition of carotenoids can improve our insulin resistance and lower our level of blood sugars. Intake of foods such as these that are rich in carotenoids may be beneficial to blood sugar regulation.
Purchasing and Storing Carrots
When purchasing them, there are several things to consider. The deeper orange in color, the more beta-carotene they will contain. They should have a firm feel and not easily bent. Usually the bigger they are in size the sweeter they will taste. If the tops are still attached they should not be limp. While the tops are edible, they have a distinct bitter taste.
To store them, remove the tops and put them in the refrigerator. They can be kept in the plastic bag you purchased them in. You may also add a damp paper towel in the bag to maintain freshness.
They are great served as snacks, pretty in salads, excellent when steamed or fried, or a great addition to soups. They are best though when eaten as carrot cake for dessert.
With so many health benefits and the wonderful taste that they provide, it is easy to incorporate carrots into our daily diets. With some many ways to prepare and eat them, planning to add them into our future diet should be as simple as eating a piece of cake!