Carrots provide more health-promoting carotenoids than any other vegetable. Carotenoids, the antioxidants responsible for giving carrots their yellow-orange pigment, may protect against certain cancer and heart disease types and cataracts. In addition, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin. It also helps to boost the immune system. Other benefits include soluble fiber, vitamin C, and calcium.
Select firm, bright orange carrots void of splits or cracks. The deeper the orange color, the more beta-carotene. The leafy tops should be bright green in color.
If you buy carrots with the greens attached, trim the greens down immediately to approximately one inch. Otherwise, the carrots will go limp and lose their nutrients more quickly. You can keep the greens and integrate them into salads. Carrots without their tops will stay fresh for about two weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Since beta-carotene is fat-soluble, carrots can be cooked with a small amount of healthy oil, such as olive oil, or dressed in a salad with oil and vinegar. Adding the oil will help your body absorb the beta-carotene more fully.
Did you know?
Farmers, to create "baby carrots," plant the carrots very close together, keeping them slim and easier to cut. Once they are picked, they are peeled, cut, and packaged for market.
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