Notable Personality Factors:
Carrots are energy foods. They animate, activate, and embolden the life-giving processes of the body that keep us vital, youthful, and well. Carrots revitalize the master glands that enliven our mind, body, and mood; strengthen immune function and increase our body’s resistance to aging and disease; and shelter our vital systems from the ongoing wear and tear of daily living.
In their early incarnation, these root vegetables were unpleasant tasting and purple-black in color. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the sweeter, more appealing orange carrots were cultivated—thanks to Dutch horticulturists. In the world of clinical nutrition, it’s easy to root for the modern version of this nutrient-rich root. It’s full of nutritional and therapeutic values that help us build, maintain, and protect our long-term wellbeing.
Therapeutic & Healing Powers:*
Carrots are considered to be an anti-cancer vegetable. In fact, they are so rich in cancer-fighting compounds that they have the distinction of having their own antioxidant named after them—beta carotene! Beta-carotene is a powerful plant compound from the carotenoid family of antioxidants that has been shown to help lower risk for lung cancer and other smoking related cancers (this applies to eating beta-carotene rich foods, such as carrots, not beta-carotene supplements**). Studies have suggested that beta-carotene may also be helpful in preventing skin, breast, prostate, and other cancers. It is also important to note that in addition to beta-carotene, carrots provide a wide array of anti-cancer compounds—such as lutein and polyacetylenes—that further equip the body to combat and prevent cancer.
In addition to their cancer-inhibiting qualities, studies have shown that carrots support a healthy heart and help prevent cardiovascular disease. Carrots help purify the blood, protect the cardiovascular system from antioxidant damage, and are currently being studied for their anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet-aggregatory properties.
And that’s just the beginning! In my experience, I’ve found that:
- Carrot, carrot-celery, and carrot-celery-beet juice are all excellent tonics that help combat liver stress and detoxify the liver.
- The carrot’s fiber content helps regulate the bowels and, when steamed, can be helpful in treating diarrhea.
- Carrots help revitalize the thyroid and adrenal glands, and in so doing, help combat fatigue, stress, and burnout.
- Carrots are helpful in preventing upper respiratory infections and inflammatory lung problems.
With all of these nutritional and therapeutic benefits, it makes sense to add carrots to your daily or weekly routine.
As mentioned above, carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene and other cancer fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients. Since beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A (as needed) by the body, carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. They are also a good source of many B vitamins, vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber, and important minerals such as potassium and calcium.
Selection and Care:
Select firm, smooth roots. Avoid carrots that are rubbery, wrinkled, or split. Carrot greens should be bright and upright.
Optimal Use and Combining:
Raw carrots add color, taste, and crunch to leafy green salads and mix especially well with romaine lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous veggies. In addition, don’t forget about carrots when putting together some healthy snacks at parties. Try combining fresh carrots with cruciferous vegetables for an anti-cancer crudités plate and add a side of salsa and guacamole for dipping! When juicing, carrots taste great alone or combined with celery and beets.
*This article is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of health condition or disease. Any nutritional considerations for any health complication should be discussed with your physician or healthcare provider.
**Whereas beta-carotene consumed as part of a whole food, such as a carrot, has been shown to lower lung cancer risk, some studies have shown that high doses of beta-carotene supplements have actually increased lung cancer risk. For this reason, it’s best to get your beta-carotene by eating beta-carotene rich foods, not by consuming beta-carotene supplements.