Carrots are a fairly staple vegetable in most diets, and we all know that they’re good for us but do we know why?
Results have recently been released from a ten-year study conducted in the Netherlands, looking at carrot consumption and its effect on cardiovascular disease (CVD.)
The study showed that of the four colour categories of vegetables (green, yellow/orange, red/purple and white), the yellow/orange family provided the highest protection from CVD, and of that particular group, carrots were by far the most effective.
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Carrots contain carotene – a powerful antioxidant, but the study also found that there are other benefits to be had. Carrots also contain polyacetylenes which have been shown to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
The old saying that carrots are good for your eyes has also been proven to have merit. In another study, researchers at the Jules Stein Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles found that women who consume carrots at least twice a week have significantly lower rates of glaucoma.
But the good news doesn't stop there. Unlike most other vegetables, carrots retain their nutritional value when stored for up to several weeks. Ideally they should be wrapped in damp paper and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
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We should aim to consume between twenty-five and seventy-five grams of carrot each day, and with their versatility that shouldn't be too difficult. Here are a few suggestions of how carrots can be served.
- Steamed (rather than boiled) as a main meal accompaniment.
- As a soup, especially along with other vegetables
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- Raw in a salad
- In patties
- In scones or breads
- For a sweet treat in a carrot cake
- Cut into sticks and served with dips or patè
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When buying carrots, we should look for firmness and a bright colour. The deeper the orange, the more beta-carotene they contain.