Carrot the Super Root

What color comes to mind when I say “carrot.” Orange? Orange is the most popular color of carrots today. Although, carrots come in a variety of other colors including white, yellow, purple and red. Smaller carrots, which are less than 6 inches, tend to be sweeter. So choose the shorter variety if you like sweet carrots (but NOT baby carrots, see below).

Carrots provide our body essential enzymes, vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of fiber, folic acid (vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6), vitamin C, vitamin K, biotin, potassium and thiamine. Carrots also offer an excellence source of beta-carotene. No other vegetable or fruit contains as much vitamin A as a carrot.

Carrots are easily assimilated by the body, but they’re fat-soluble. That means a carrot’s nutrition is absorbed better with the presence of oil.  You’ll want to add a drop of olive oil or flax oil in a glass of carrot juice to help effectively absorb it’s nutrition. Carrots make a great addition to a veggie drink as well.

Haley’s great-granddad grows super carrots.
One giant carrot = carrot juice for a year!

Photo with permission from ZIMage Photography

Getting the Most from a Carrot
Most of a carrot’s nutrients are concentrated just under the skin so it’s best not to peel off the skin. To clean it, simply use a hard brush and brush the skin while holding the carrot under running water.

Carrots are the exception to the rule – they’re more nutritious cooked (or juiced) than raw. Because raw carrots have tough cellular walls, the body is able to convert less than 25 per cent of their beta carotene into vitamin A. Cooking or juicing partially dissolves cellulose-thickened cell walls, freeing up nutrients by breaking down the cell membranes. In order to assimilate the greatest quantity of the nutrients present in raw carrots, it’s important to chew them well.

Pregnant or Nursing?
Regularly drinking carrot juice during pregnancy, especially during the last few months, will reduce the chance of jaundice in your baby. Do you have water retention during your monthly menstruation cycle or pregnancy? Carrot juice is diuretic and helps to eliminate excess fluids from the body, reducing water retention. Furthermore, carrot juice is said to enhance the quality and quantity of a mother’s breast milk.

Baby Carrots: Less Nutrition, Higher Cost
Baby carrots are not a baby variety of carrots. The baby carrot was developed because regular carrots, which are often irregularly-shaped and funny-looking, were not selling. Full-sized carrots are cut down to “baby” size and peeled by machines. They are then packaged and called “Baby Carrots”

Baby carrots are tiny and cute, but not as nutritious as whole carrots. They’re grown and ripened quickly and have only 70 percent of the beta carotene of a regular carrot. Phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants, are located in the skin of fruit and vegetables. In the process of making a carrot baby-sized many, if not most, of the phenolic compounds are peeled away. Save grocery dollars and nutrition, purchase regular-sized carrots. For bite-size carrots, cut in Julienne strips.

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