Bugs Bunny would be pleased.
Carrots — the old standby of the vegetable drawer — are enjoying newfound admiration. Chefs love their flavor and (not always orange) color. They crave their crunch and adaptability.
As a bonus, carrots combine a massive dose of antioxidants along with good taste, making them a healthy side dish of choice. And unlike many vegetables, fresh carrots are in season throughout the winter — and the rest of the year, too.
California is the carrot capital, producing about 80 percent of the nation’s crop.
More than 70,000 acres – primarily in Kern County – are devoted to carrots. In 2012, California grew 1.9 billion pounds of carrots, according to the board. Of that total, about 70 percent was turned into baby-cut carrots.
Resource via: Sacramento Bee
Holtville, California is the Carrot Capital of the World
More than 103 years ago, a hardy group of pioneers found their way to the desert of California’s Imperial Valley where they helped settle a new imperial irrigation district off the Colorado River. From the sand and silt of the desert they coaxed fields of broccoli, carrots, lettuce and onions.
A century later that tradition endures with Carrots as the specialty. Holtville has gained fame as “Carrot Capital of the World” and celebrates that heritage annually at the Holtville Carrot Festival and Parade.
Resource via: Carrot Museum
Top Ten Health Benefits of Carrots
Forget about vitamin A pills. With this orange crunchy powerfood, you get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits including beautiful skin, cancer prevention, and anti-aging. Farmer’s markets and some specialty stores carry carrots in a range of colors – like purple, yellow, and red – that contain a variety of antioxidants lending them their color (such as anthocyanin in purple carrots and lycopene in red carrots).
One medium carrot or ½ cup of chopped carrots is considered a serving size. One serving size of carrots provides 25 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of sugars and 1 gram of protein. Read how to get maximum benefits from this amazing vegetable.
1. Carrots Can Improve Your Vision
Western culture’s understanding of carrots being “good for the eyes” is one of the few we got right. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.
Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration and senile cataracts. A study found that people who eat the most beta-carotene had 40 percent lower risk of macular degeneration than those who consumed little.
2. Carrots Aide in Cancer Prevention
Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Researchers have just discovered falcarinol and falcarindiol which they feel cause the anticancer properties. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound.
3. California Carrots are Anti-Aging
The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
4. Carrots Create Healthy Glowing Skin (from the inside)
Vitamin A and antioxidants protects the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes, and uneven skin tone.
5. Carrots are a Powerful Antiseptic
Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts – shredded raw or boiled and mashed.
6. Carrots Give You Beautiful Skin (from the outside)
Carrots are used as an inexpensive and very convenient facial mask. Just mix grated carrot with a bit of honey. See the full recipe here: carrot face mask.
7. Carrots Help to Prevent Heart Disease
Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.
8. California Carrots Cleanse the Body
Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibers present in carrots help clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.
9. Carrots Give You Healthy Teeth and Gums
It’s all in the crunch! Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
10. Carrots Can Help to Prevent a Stroke
From all the above benefits it is no surprise that in a Harvard University study, people who ate more than six carrots a week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less.
Resource via: Real Food For Life
Carrot Fun Facts
- Carrots were first grown as medicine, not food.
- There are over 100 species of carrots.
- Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
- Carrots cannot float.
- The biggest carrot recorded is more than 19 pounds and the longest is over 19 feet!
- Some are big. Some are small and they come in a variety of colors including: orange, purple, white, yellow, and red.
- English women in the 1600’s often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers.
- The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton.”
- The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself!
- The average American eats about 12 pounds of carrots a year. (That’s only one cup per week.)
- Eating carrots raw or steamed provides the most nutritional value.
- Mel Blanc, the voice of the iconic cartoon character Bugs Bunny, reportedly did not like carrots.
Resource Via: Care2.org