Nutrition

Get your 5-10 a day: Carrots

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Author: Canadian Living

Nutrition

Get your 5-10 a day: Carrots

By:

The Greeks and Romans had the right idea using carrots for medicinal purposes. A sweet, hardy vegetable, carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a compound that gives carrots their deep orange colour. A cultural favourite, they are eaten raw or cooked, in cold or hot dishes.

Selection and storage
Choose fresh-looking, smooth carrots with a deep colour, free of cracks, shrivels or any greenish tinge. Small carrots tend be more tender and sweet than large, overgrown carrots, which can have woody cores. Cut the green tops off before storing carrots because they rob them of moisture and nutrients. Store carrots in a perforated bag in the vegetable crisper. Young (small) carrots keep for up to two weeks and mature (large) carrots keep for up to four weeks.

Nutrition
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, which changes into vitamin A, which plays a part in immunity, night vision and healthy skin. Beta-carotene is an important antioxidant well researched for its role in reducing the risk of cancer, particularly lung cancer, in its natural food form. Excess beta-carotene, however, can cause the skin to turn yellow. One carrot will provide you with 150 per cent of your vitamin A needs for the day. With their skin scrubbed clean, they are a good source of fibre, and about 35 calories for a medium carrot. Sweet boiled carrots are a good beginner baby food since they are flavourful and easy to prepare.

Preparation
Unlike most vegetables, lightly cooking carrots actually intensifies their sweetness and improves the absorption of beta-carotene. Cooking breaks down the cellular walls that surround the carotene, and eating them with a little fat such as oil or as part of a mixed meal will increase its absorption.

Try these recipes:
Refrigerator PIckled Baby Carrots
Broiled Tilapia with Parsley Potatoes and Carrots
Basmati Rice with Carrots, Raisins and Spices
Roasted Ginger Carrots
Breakfast in a Cookie
Canada's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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Nutrition

Get your 5-10 a day: Carrots

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