Functional Foods: Carrots


By Christine “Cricket” Giles, M.S., B.S., Certified Nutrition Consultant & Certified Health & Wellness Coach







Did you know that carrots actually become healthier when cooked? The antioxidant power of carrots increases no matter how they are prepared! Of course, they are still incredibly healthy when eaten raw, but they don’t lose any nutrients like some other vegetables when cooked. When we think of carrots, we usually think of the orange stalks or orange baby carrots, however, they can be blue, purple, red, yellow, or white. The antioxidant content and nutrients are just slightly different in those other varieties. For example, the blue/purple carrots contain anthocyanins, which provide the blue/purple color.


Nutrient Content of Carrots:


Carrots are mostly known for protecting against disease related to eye health, however, they are antioxidant powerhouses that protect against chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, liver health, and protects against cancer. For specific benefits of the nutrient content of carrots, see below:



Food For Thought


Did you ever think you could have too many vegetables? Most of the time, the answer is no. However, in rare instances if you are eating an abundance of yellow/orange vegetables, it can turn your palms and other parts of your skin a yellow or orange color. The specific term for this is keratoderma. The change of the skin color is related to carotenemia, which just means there is an excess of carotene in the bloodstream. Don’t fret though, this condition usually goes away once consumption of yellow/orange fruits and vegetables are reduced. If the skin color turns yellow or orange after reduction of these specific foods, there could be an underlying cause resulting in the return of skin discoloration. This is one reason why it is important to have a rainbow of colors of vegetables and fruits every day. A variety of color in the diet provides the body with benefits from all the many antioxidants and flavonoids that each group consists of.



Roasted Carrot Soup


Ingredients:

1 pound cooked carrots (recipe below)

1 yellow onion, diced

1TBSP EVOO

1 potato, diced

1/2C celery, chopped

3TBSP chopped fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

1 - 14oz can coconut milk

2C vegetable broth


Directions:


Add EVOO to pan and heat to medium heat

Add chopped onion, garlic, celery, and ginger to pan (cook until fragrant)


For the potatoes: add water to a pot, add potatoes, and boil until tender to touch with a fork

Add carrots and vegetable broth to pan (if carrots have cooled, bring to boil to heat them up)

Add in cooked potatoes

Slowly stir in coconut milk

Use an immersion blender to blend all ingredients together

Salt to taste

Enjoy!


Roasted Carrots


Ingredients:

1LB Carrot Stalks

1-2 TBSP EVOO

1TBSP cinnamon

1TBSP Garlic Salt or Powder


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Add carrot stalks to a lined baking sheet

Sprinkle EVOO over carrots and coat evenly

Add spices, coat evenly

Bake for 25-30 min.

Enjoy!


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