Carrots are root vegetables which are both delicious & nutritious.
Initially grown in Afghanistan, early carrots were purple or yellow. Orange carrots were developed in Central Europe around the 15th-16th century.
They are high in water, carbohydrates and fibre, lutein, biotin, vitamin B6, C & K1, potassium, lycopene, anthocyanins and carotenoids (alpha & beta) which are powerful antioxidants, thus aiding with many health conditions. They are very low in fat & protein.
They can help with:
- eye health
- heart health
- bone health
- weight management
- reducing cholesterol & blood sugar levels
- reducing risk of cancer
- diabetes management
- improved digestion and bowel movements
Carrots comes in different colours, with the orange ones being the most available. Their orange colour comes from alpha & beta-carotene, an antioxidant that our body converts into vitamin A.
Absorption of beta-carotene is improved if the carrots are cooked. However, be aware that eating too much beta-carotene can turn your skin orange-yellow, a condition called carotenemia. It is not dangerous but in extreme cases, it can keep vitamin A from functioning properly and impairs many mechanisms in your body.
Carrots are very easy to cook. You can eat them raw in salads or as stick with hummous or guacamole or they can be cooked (steamed, pan-fried, boiled or roasted) as a side dish or as part of stews or soups. I personally love adding them to a salad, served grated with a nice vinaigrette or added to a bowl of cooked lentils with other vegs such as onions, peppers, courgettes…They are so versatile, you can add them to pretty much any dish. Due to their sweet taste, they can also be used in desserts: carrot cake anyone?
And they are in season at the moment, so go and enjoy them!
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