FIBER: carrots

carrots.didyouknow.saynotofoodwaste.sustainable.local.1

Carrots are something I’ve always associated with good eye health. I love them as a crunch snack but admit they get a little boring. To spice it up, I will eat them with hummus. Yet, I love them in my salads and winter soups.

What do you associate with carrots? Is it a food you eat? Is it a go to food?

DID YOU KNOW? Carrots come in a rainbow of colors.

Until last year, I had never eaten a carrot that wasn’t orange. When I saw purple carrots, I was intrigued because purple is one of my favorite colors. Even though I started eating the colorful carrots, I didn’t really think about what each carrot offered.

DID YOU KNOW? Each carrot color offers something different for our bodies.

“Orange: contain beta carotene, with some alpha-carotene, both of which are orange pigments. The body converts the high content beta carotene into Vitamin A, essential to the immune system for general well-being and healthy eyes.

Purple: (are usually orange inside) get their pigment from an entirely different class, the anthocyanins. These pigments act as very powerful antioxidants, grabbing and holding onto harmful free radicals in the body. Anthocyanins also help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting.

Red: contain lycopene (another form of carotene), a pigment also found in tomatoes and watermelon; lycopene helps in the fight against heart disease and some cancers, including prostate cancer.

Yellow: contain xanthophylls, pigments similar to orange beta carotene, which help develop healthy eyes and aid in the fight against macular degeneration. They may also be useful in preventing tumors associated with lung and other cancers.

White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.”

DID YOU KNOW? Carrots originated in Europe, the Middle and Far East, Turkey, China, India, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.

“Orange carrots originate from Europe and the Middle East.
Yellow carrots came from the Middle East.
Red carrots were originally from India and China.
Purple carrots originate from Turkey, and the Middle and Far East.
White carrots originate from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.”

DID YOU KNOW? Carrots have fiber.

“The carrot (Daucus carota) is a root vegetable that is often claimed to be the perfect health food.

It is crunchy, tasty and highly nutritious. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.”

DID YOU KNOW? Fiber leads to good gut health.

“Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber in carrots.

Soluble fibers can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of sugar and starch.

They can also feed the friendly bacteria in the gut, which may lead to improved health and decreased risk of disease.

Certain soluble fibers can also impair the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol.

The main insoluble fibers in carrots are in the form of cellulose, but also hemicellulose and lignin.

Insoluble fibers reduce the risk of constipation and promote regular and healthy bowel movements.”

DID YOU KNOW? Carrots are a weight loss friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

DID YOU KNOW? You can leave them in the ground all winter.

While so many wimpy vegetables need to be plucked and dug up, the mighty carrot can freeze itself happily in the ground. “After the carrots have had a light frost you cover them with about a foot of leaf mulch, which acts like insulation to prevent the ground and the carrots from freezing solid,” says farmer Toby Fischer of Ro-Jo Farms in Bethany, Connecticut. “You can either over-winter carrots and harvest them in the spring, or continuously harvest them throughout the winter months.” And when you do this, the carrot’s sugars get more concentrated and the result is a super tasty, sweet vegetable that anybody who loves dessert will be excited to eat.

DID YOU KNOW? Carrots are made up of 88 percent water.
DID YOU KNOW? Cooking carrots is better for you than eating raw carrots.

“As the most popular and widely grown member of the apiaceae family, you want to respect the vegetable. This is why you should get the most out of each bite by cooking them. This releases the hidden pockets of good-for-you beta-carotene. In fact, eating carrots raw only gives you three percent of this substance, but when you heat them up they release closer to 40 percent.”

DID YOU KNOW? There are several varieties of carrots.

“In some instances, the varieties of carrots are divided into categories based on their shape. There are four different carrot types that include Danvers, Nantes, Imperator, Chantenay and Ball (or Mini).”

“And according to William Weaver there are nine that include:

‘Golden Ball’ Carrot
‘Oxheart’ or ‘Guérande’ Carrot
‘Chantenay’ Carrot

‘True Danvers’ Carrot
‘Long Orange’ Carrot
‘Saint Valery’ Carrot

‘Early Horn’ Carrot
‘Violet’ or ‘Purple’ Carrot
‘White Belgian’ Carrot”

Some of these names piqué my interest and have me wanting to investigate more and try each variety.

To learn how to grow carrots, check out: https://www.almanac.com/plant/carrots or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttKbPzeadNw.

For recipes, check out Cooking with Grams

and https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/carrot-recipes.

Who would’ve thought carrots could be so interesting!

I’d love to hear from you to know your thoughts, if there are other foods that interest you, just anything you’d like to share.

Until next Monday, hugs,
Elizabeth Fischer

References:
1. http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/20/eat-this-now-rainbow-carrots/
2. http://snaplant.com/vegetables/a-rainbow-of-carrot-colors/
3. See Footnote 2
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3550877/
5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814603005314
6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/carrots and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822302902282
7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/carrots
8. http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/11/24/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-carrots/
9. See Footnote 8. See also http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/food/carrots.html
10. https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/what-are-the-different-types-of-carrots
11. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/heirloom-carrot-varieties-zewz1303zsch

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