Why Carrots Are A Superstar Vegetable

Why Carrots Are A Superstar Vegetable

As a certified healing foods specialist, I love eating healing foods for vibrant health. This post on carrots is the first in a series of posts on my favorite superstar vegetables, fruits, spices, and herbs for helping you get more energy, strength, and immunity. I will provide information on the health benefits of my favorites and create recipes which will help you to find creative ways to include these amazing healing foods into your daily diet.

 

My first superstar vegetable is carrots. I love carrots because they are a nutrient-rich root vegetable that tastes great and is extremely versatile. Carrots are delicious either raw or cooked and can be used in a variety of different recipes. Carrots are reported to have potent medicinal properties. Some of these include the ability to cleanse the intestines, act as a diuretic, and remineralize the body, along with purifying and revitalizing the blood.

 

Carrots are best known for being high in the antioxidant beta-carotene but they also are a great source of phytochemicals, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin D, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, water, and fiber. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for helping strengthen our immune system and promote healthy skin, cells, and vision. Carrots flavor is from Terpineol a phytochemical that protects our bodies from cancer and fungi.

 

Carrots come in a variety of colors with different health properties for each color. Many people are used to just enjoying the popular orange carrot but there are many other varieties of carrots that you should add into your diet because they each have unique health properties and flavor. You can find many of the more exotic varieties of carrots at your local farmers’ markets and they are definitely worth seeking out.
     

  • Orange Carrots—Orange carrots are a great source of both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene which are phytochemicals that function as antioxidants. Our bodies convert both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene into vitamin A which is the key to maintaining healthy cells, healthy skin, healthy eyes, well-being, and immunity. Orange carrots originate from Europe and the Middle East.
  • Yellow Carrots—Yellow carrots contain xanthophylls which are a phytochemical and carotenoid that are responsible for the yellow pigment. Lutein is one of the most commonly know Xanthophylls and it is found in yellow carrots. Xanthophylls function similar to beta-carotene, and help protect against macular degeneration and may help prevent some cancers. This pigment may also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Yellow carrots originate from the Middle East.
  • Red Carrots—Red carrots are tinted by lycopene a pigment and carotenoid which is also found in tomatoes and watermelon. Enjoying red carrots with a healthy fat source can help increase absorption since lycopene is fat-soluble.   Cooking lycopene-rich vegetables can also increase the amount of lycopene that you absorb because the cooking process frees the pigment from the cell walls of the plant. Lycopene is associated with the reduced risk of macular degeneration and serum lipid oxidation. Red carrots also help prevent heart disease and a wide variety of cancers including prostate  cancer. Red carrots originate from India and China.
  • Purple Carrots—Purple carrots contain more beta-carotene than their orange cousins, and their purple pigment comes from anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are phytochemicals which act as powerful antioxidants which help protect the body against free radical damage along with repairing collagen. Anthocyanins also help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting and strengthening blood vessels and they have good anti-inflammatory properties. Purple carrots originate from Turkey, the Middle East, and Far East.
  • Black Carrots—Black carrots are also an excellent source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) along with helping protect the arteries against oxidation. Anthocyanins also help protect us against various forms of cancer. The “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” published a study in April 2011 that investigated the anthocyanin content in four varieties of black carrots including the Antonina, Beta Sweet, Deep Purple and Purple Haze and found a range of anthocyanin levels, from 1.5 milligrams per 100 grams up to 97.9 milligrams per 100 grams. Black carrots originate from Turkey, the Middle East, and Far East.
  • White Carrots—White carrots are pigment-free and they contain phytochemicals that work with nutrients and dietary fiber to protect against diseases like colon cancer. The phytochemicals in white carrots can also help reduce the risk of stroke. White carrots are good for carotene allergy sufferers. White carrots originate from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.
  • I will be posting recipes that feature some of these varieties of carrots so check back soon.
If you like this article and would like to contribute to the conversation, please take a moment to leave a comment.

 

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References
  • The Carrot Museum Website.
  • Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; Anthocyanin Composition of Black Carrot (Daucus Carota Ssp. Sativus Var. Atrorubens Alef.) Cultivars Antonina, Beta Sweet, Deep Purple, and Purple Haze; E.C. Montilla, et al.
Paid Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Comments

  1. WOW, I had no idea there were so many types of carrots, and I’m a gardener! I don’t ever remember seeing carrot seeds in the store for anything other than the regular orange and white.

    I will have to keep an eye out for them this spring and plant something different this year.
    Carla McNeil, Social Media Manager recently posted..Social Media Marketing – Take Advantage of the Circles on Google+My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Carla, you can find different heirloom varieties of carrots from Seeds of Change. They have varieties like Purple Dragon, Yellowstone, and White Satin. Check out their website at http://www.seedsofchange.com/ and maybe you will grow some of them in your garden this year. 🙂

  2. Hi Shelley,
    I though that there are only orange carrots, I had no idea that you can find Purple or even Black carrots, I have heard that carrots have a lot of vitamins but not in such a diversity for each type of carrots, what can I say every we leave we learn new things, thanks for sharing…
    Kostas recently posted..How to Use Templates to Repurpose Your ContentMy Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Kostas, You are welcome! I really liked sharing the info on all the different varieties of carrots so that you and other people will search out and try the many unique varieties and see which ones become a new favorite.

  3. Thanks for introducing me to your blog! I love carrots. So much so that I would eat most of the ones we grew right from the garden, used a garden hose to wash off the dirt (and not all the time). In fact some summers my skin turned a little orange. Maybe we should have been growing the white ones!
    France recently posted..Whole Food Wednesdays: Black Bean, Quinoa & Broccoli Salad with Blackberry Serrano SauceMy Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi France, Thanks for stopping by, I really enjoy your blog. You and I share a common love of carrots and healthy eating. I hope you will try some of the carrot recipes I will be posting in the future.

  4. Holy moly…. I did not know about other colored carrots! Now, do they all taste the same… or are there differences in the taste?
    Nile recently posted..Finding Inspiration For Your Site’s Content And DesignMy Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Nile, the different varieties do have slight differences in taste. If you have a local farmers market by you go and see what varieties they have available and ask them for a sample to see which one you like.

  5. Hi Shelley,

    It is great that you share your knowledge as eating healthy food is so important for all of us. Especially with the increase of diabetes for so many people.Thank you very much for the reminder about healthy carrots . I have to admit I really like carrots and there are organic gardens near where I live . I will check in and see if they have different variety of carrots. Take care Rosemary
    Rosemary O’Shaughnessy recently posted..Browsers and your Android ???My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Rosemary, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on healthy eating.:) I agree with you that it is so important for all of us to try to do whatever we can to get more healing whole foods into our daily diet.

  6. Thanks, Shelley!

    I look forward to more healthy eating advice from you. Like other commentators, I was unaware that carrots come in several color/types — and with different nutritional components.

    You have reminded me to go to the local farmer’s market,which I forget to do.

    I have a question for you. I have often wondered about the effect of cooking on the nutritional value of vegetables. I have heard that heat destroys vitamin C. You mentioned that carrots can be cooked. What advice do you have for other vegetables? To cook or not to cook; that is the question…
    Buddy Hodges recently posted..Interdependence vs. Independence ReconsideredMy Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Buddy, I recommend that you eat your vegetables both raw and cooked to get the most nutrients. Cooking vegetables can enhance some nutrients while lowering the amounts of others like vitamin C which is effected by heat and oxygen. When you cook vegetables the process of heating them helps to break down the cellulose, which allows your body to absorb many of the beneficial phytochemicals within the plant cells. For example when you cook tomatoes the lycopene is released from the cell walls which makes it more easy for your body to absorb it. Cooking carrots actually increases the beta-carotene content. Some of the cooking methods I recommend for vegetables including steaming, lightly sautéing, or roasting.

  7. The only carrot I know is the orange one and all I know about the vegetable is that it is good for eye sight. I didn’t have a single clue that there are a lot of varieties of carrots. 😀
    Herbert recently posted..Know What’s Hot with StrawberryJamMy Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Herbert, there are so many unique varieties of vegetables and fruits that you can try especially if you go to your local farmers’ markets and seek them out. I hope you will explore the options!

  8. Hi Shelley:

    Thanks for all the helpful information on carrots. I didn’t know all that! I am glad that I eat lots of carrots. 🙂

    Kevin
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Love is a commitmentMy Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Your welcome Kevin! Keep eating lots of carrots. 🙂 You can find many of the more unique varieties at your local farmers’ markets.

  9. Nathalie Villeneuve
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great information about carrots! I didn’t know there were white carrots…to me it would seem that because they have no color they wouldn’t contain as much nutritional value…But apparently, it’s not the case!
    Nathalie Villeneuve recently posted..Are You Hiding Your MLM Business?My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Nathalie, don’t have some of the nutrients that the colorful carrots have but they do have their own unique phytochemicals that provide health benefits.

  10. Steve Vernon
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m with everyone else, Shelley. I had absolutely no idea there were all these varieties of carrots. I HAVE seen purple carrots, but never thought much about them other than that they look rather unusual. I’m going to definitely have to make it a point to seek out some of these other varieties. Of course, my favorite use of carrots is in carrot cake! <<>> I also love a good carrot salad when it’s not overloaded with a lot of other stuff, and steamed carrots with a little honey, cinnamon and brown sugar — not too much, just enough to bring out a little flavor. We ALL need to do better about getting back to natural eating, and fresh veggies are a great place to start.

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Steve, I first found out about all the different varieties of carrots when I went to my local farmers’ market and saw them. I feel in love with all the beautiful colors and varieties and had to try them! I so glad you are finding different ways to enjoy carrots. I hope you try some of the other varieties.

  11. Hi Shelley,
    Wow! The only carrot variety I know is the orange one. I think it would be fun and interesting to mix all or several varieties in one colorful dish or salad.
    I wonder what a purple or black carrot cake would look and taste like. 🙂
    The next time I visit the market, I’m definitely going to check out these other varieties.
    Very informative post, thanks for sharing!
    Theresa Torres recently posted..Telecommuting Trends: Is It For You?My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Theresa, It would be fun to mix the different varieties for a variety of different tastes, nutrients, and colors. Let me know if you come up with some creative recipes!

  12. Hi Shelley,
    I have always been a fan of carrots and even as a kid it was one of the rare veggies that I enjoyed whether cooked or raw.
    Justin Mazza recently posted..— Dieting and Exercise: The Ultimate Balancing Act —My Profile

  13. Shelley,

    I didn’t know there are so many different colors for carrots. I believe I have seen white carrots, but certainly not black or purple or even red. It is wonderful to learn about the powerful nutrients in each type of carrot and in different food types. Your blog is so beautifully done. It reinforces for me to choose my food wisely and to cook it carefully.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Are You Dating Your Clients?My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Hi Dr. Erica, Thank you for your wonderful comments about my blog. I really want to encourage everyone to try a variety of different whole foods that have amazing health benefits and fantastic flavor so that they will be empowered to achieve vibrant health. You can find many of the heirloom varieties of carrots at your local farmers market. I appreciate your support of my mission!

  14. Shelley,

    I have a bag of carrots for juicing in the fridge but then I get to busy to juice them. Your article truly inspired me to get back into juicing cause I love carrot juice with organic apple and a little ginger! I didn’t know carrots came in so many different colors!

    ~ Jupiter Jim
    Jupiter Jim recently posted..Which Social Media Site is Best for Your Blog or Business?My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Jupiter Jim, I’m happy that my article inspired you! The Farmers’ markets have so many wonderful varieties of carrots that you don’t normally find at your grocery store and they taste fantastic. Carrot juice with ginger, apple, and kale is one of my favorite juice blends. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Well Veggies surely do a good job.

    I followed a personal diet and lost around 8 kgs in a month!

    To sum it up

    ~Lots of proteins rich and green veggies
    ~No sugar/dairy/processed stuff.

    That’s it and it worked pretty good.
    Erin recently posted..What Makes Weight Loss Goals Achievable?My Profile

    • Shelley Alexander says:

      Erin, I’m happy to hear that you are eating lots of vegetables and have cut out sugar and processed foods. Congrats on achieving your weight loss!

  16. hello Shelley,

    Thank you very much for your intensive info.

    best regards
    Haluk

  17. Thanks for this. I was not aware that there were black and purple and I’ve only had the other colored carrots. It was interesting to know the healthy attributes of the purple and black carrots and how both are a great source of anthocyanins.
    Bryan recently posted..Febrile Seizure: What You Should Know About ItMy Profile

  18. Thanks for the spreading the word about the wonderful colours and healthy properties of carrots.By the way the photo in your blog shows white radish – NOT white carrots! – check the leaves -see the World Carrot Museum white carrots page.
    John recently posted..Carrots in World War TwoMy Profile

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