7 health benefits of this crunchy orange vegetable
You probably have carrots in your fridge right now. They do make a quick and easy snack food that children and adults alike love. But do you know just how healthy this fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie vegetable really is? Here are seven reasons to include carrots (they’re orange, but also come in purple, white, red and yellow) on your menu:
Improved vision. You probably already know this one, but here’s why: The retina of the eye needs vitamin A to function properly, and carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a substance that converts to vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A protects against macular degeneration and cataracts and is necessary for night vision.
Lower heart disease risk. A diet high in carotenoids has been shown to lower heart disease risk. The fiber in carrots also reduces bad cholesterol levels.
Reduced chance of stroke. Harvard University research found people who ate more than six carrots a week are much less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month.
A healthy mouth. Carrots act as natural abrasives that help remove plaque from teeth and gums. Some minerals in carrots kill germs and prevent tooth decay.
Less cancer. Several studies show eating carrots may help lower the risk of developing breast, colon and lung cancers. Researchers have isolated a compound called falcarinol, a natural pesticide that protects roots from fungus, in carrots that they believe is responsible for anti-cancer properties.
Beautiful skin. The vitamin A in carrots nourishes the skin and helps prevent dryness and blemishes.
Aging gracefully. The beta-carotene in carrots helps the body fight free radicals and slows cell aging.
Choose firm carrots and refrigerate them (tops removed) for up to two weeks in a plastic bag.