Carrots rank right up there with spinach among earth’s topmost health foods. These cold months are a wonderful time to enjoy them steamed, roasted, baked and grilled. My favorite way is to steam them with green peas—they provide a beautiful color contrast and complement each other perfectly.
I dug up some carrot facts that will bring you closer to this root vegetable’s amazing health benefits, and help you eat them more wisely:
- The bright orange color of carrots comes from the antioxidant beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A during digestion. Carrots in other colors such as red and purple have beneficial antioxidants, too.
- Carrots are a nutrition-rich food, containing fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and essential minerals.
- Eating cooked carrots is a healthier option than munching them raw. That’s because cooking breaks down the tough cellular walls of the vegetable, making the beneficial beta-carotene in them more easily available to the body. Just make sure you don’t overcook them to mush.
- Carrots could play a role in making babies! A Harvard study finds that carrots can boost male fertility, helping sperm swim faster toward an egg.
- Carrots and beets are the sweetest vegetables on earth. Most of the sugar in carrots is concentrated in their core. So if you want to avoid all that sugar, choose medium sized carrots.
- You can use carrots instead of high-calorie butter and cream in your bakes—they will add a lovely color and tender sweetness, and the fiber in them will lend a thick texture. They make great soups, too. Here is a wonderful recipe to try.