Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Most of us know that carrots are considered good for the eyes. However this versatile and popular root vegetable is packed with nutrition and healing properties that go beyond eye health.

Check out these top 6 reasons to eat carrots.

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Carrot Nutrition

Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A, and they provide ample amounts of vitamins B, C, D, E and K. Carrots are a rich source of vital minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. They are highly cleansing due to their fiber content, and an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Carrots have been cultivated for thousands of years. They originated in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Western carrots, common in the US, are primarily orange in color and sometimes called carotene carrots.

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Top Healing Benefits

Bring more carrots into the diet, for the following benefits.

• Good for the liver. Carrots deliver important glucose to the liver, along with crucial vitamins and minerals. Raw carrots are high in antiseptic phytochemical compounds that inhibit the growth of unhealthy microorganisms.

• Protect the brain. Carrots help to prevent Alzheimer’s, improve memory, and protect against other types of cognitive decline. This is due to carrots’ ability to lower oxidative stress in the brain, which can weaken nerve signaling ability.

• Defend against cancer. Consuming high amounts of carotenoids from fruits and vegetables can protect against cancer recurrence. Studies show that the antioxidants in carrots lower inflammation, which fights leukemia cells and reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancers.

• Lowers the risks of heart disease and strokes. Eating more deep orange colored vegetables, such as carrots, decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in women. Carrots lower oxidative stress which improves the body’s defense against cardiovascular disease. Carrots also lower cholesterol and boost bile production, which increases the body’s ability to digest fat. This aids the digestive system in properly absorbing nutrition from food.

• Improves skin health. Beta carotene is important for healing wounds. Carrots have been used for hundreds of years in poultices. They heal infections, cuts, and other wounds by increasing the skin’s ability to heal faster and to fight infection, irritation and inflammation.

• And, carrots are important for eye health. Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin support eye health and help to prevent macular degeneration and even blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin work to reduce the risk of age-related vision loss.

Carrots contain very high amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. This vitamin is necessary to protect the eyes, especially as the body ages.

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

How to Consume Carrots

There are several ways to benefit from the healing properties in carrots.

• Raw carrots have a higher fiber content. Look for organic carrots. They don’t have to be peeled, as there are nutrients in the skin. Just scrub the carrots with a brush to eliminate dirt and debris. Eat raw carrots as snacks, dip into hummus, add to salads or grate and add to veggie rolls.

• Cooked carrots may have higher antioxidant properties than raw. Add carrots to soups, stews, mixed veggie dishes, sautés and stir fries or steam them as a vegetable side dish.

• Juice carrots. Add carrots to juice blends or juice alone. Juicing delivers live enzymes and concentrated nutritional benefits to the body in an easily digestible format. Carrot juice boosts immunity, raises energy levels, and aids digestion.

There are many juice combinations that are not only healthy but extremely tasty. Try juicing carrots with apples, celery, ginger and lemons. Check out these two juice recipes HERE that contain carrots.

I add chopped carrots to simple stir fries, along with onion, garlic and celery. This weekend I’ll be trying a vegan shepherd pie, containing lentils, carrots, onions and garlic, topped with dairy free mashed potatoes.

Watch for the recipe next Tuesday!

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

This colorful slaw was inspired by a sample that I tasted at a local indie theater that specializes in vegan food. It contained the tasty combo of shredded cabbage and radishes, with the spicy tang of a jalapeño dressing.

I attempted a similar slaw of my own this evening, created without a recipe, combining red cabbage, radishes and carrots, and mixed with my version of a jalapeño dressing.

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

Here’s my “this and that” recipe:

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

1 cup red cabbage, shredded

1 cup carrots, shredded

4 – 6 radishes, cut into thin slivers

Jalapeño Dressing

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water

2 limes, juiced

1 cup cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 jalapeño, seeded

4 tablespoons water

Sea salt & pepper to taste

Combine shredded red cabbage, carrots and radish slivers in a medium sized bowl.

Drain cashews. Combine cashews, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over slaw and mix well. Refrigerate. Makes 4 servings.

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

This slaw came together in minutes. The dressing is delicious without being too spicy, although I was more aware of the slight heat from the jalapeño after I finished the slaw. I suspect the slaw I sampled at the theater had an oil and vinegar base. This version has neither, nor does it contain sugar.

I tried my radish slaw and I loved it. This is a big deal to me, as I used to dislike radishes. They seemed too peppery and pithy to me. My grandfather, whom we affectionately called Pop, grew radishes every year in his huge garden. And every year he would offer me one of those little round red vegetables and say “Have a radish!” I always declined.

I’ve learned recently that radishes are so beneficial. Watch for a blog post about radishes and their health benefits this Friday. Pop…I’m eating radishes now, and enjoying them. You would be so happy about that!

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

Turn the Beet Around Juice

I was excited today to try out a new café that opened recently in downtown Joplin. Located at 122 S Main Street, Jasper’s Juicery features freshly prepared juices and smoothies and an assortment of delicious meals. I stopped in to sample a juice. 

Turn the Beet Around Juice
The cute café has a long counter for ordering and pulling up a stool. And there are tables and chairs in the front section of the restaurant with more seating available in a back room. I browsed the menu while a customer ahead of me placed her order. 

Turn the Beet Around Juice
Turn the Beet Around Juice
I knew I wanted fresh juice, however looking over the menu I was impressed that Jasper’s Juicery uses locally provided ingredients, as much as possible, and that the smoothies are created with almond and coconut milk. I decided on the Turn the Beet Around juice blend, with beets, carrots, celery and apples. 

Celery is a powerful anti-inflammatory vegetable that alkalizes the gut. Apples are a true brain food, high in anti-inflammatory properties. Carrots, a great antioxidant root vegetable, are high in vitamins and minerals, aid in digestion and promote healthy skin. And beets, another root vegetable, boost the immune system by providing vitamin C and essential minerals. 

Turn the Beet Around Juice
Turn the Beet Around Juice
I watched as my juice was prepared. The staff was friendly and helpful. The young woman taking my order expressed excitement about my selection, telling me it was her favorite juice. In moments my drink was ready. 

Turn the Beet Around Juice
I took a sip while still in the café and gave a thumbs up to the staff. The juice was delicious, with a slightly sweet taste, due to the apple. I like beets, so the flavor was mild to me. I took my drink with me to my mom’s, where family members were gathered before a birthday celebration. Everyone bravely tried a sip. Beets are not everyone’s favorite vegetable, to eat or drink, however the consensus was that this was very good! 

I love that Joplin has restaurants and grocery stores that offer healthy meal choices. I’m looking forward to trying other juices, and all of the smoothies, at Jasper’s Juicery. Five stars for this great little health conscious café. 

Turn the Beet Around Juice