Carrots 101: Raw, cooked, juiced - carrots are one of the most delicious versatile vegetables to help improve your relationship with food. Although popularized by its orange color, carrots come in a variety of shades - which is caused by their antioxidants, called carotenoids.
Food for thought:
One of those lovely carotenoids is Beta Carotene. Many studies have shown that beta carotene is crucial for improving immunity in the body, protecting skin and eye health (momma wasn’t lying), and fighting free radical damage that can cause various forms of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the nutrient variations between carrot colors. They all are good for you so feel free to mix it up if you see a selection at your market.
Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
Yellow: Xanthophylls (I spell checked 100x) and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.
Go Organic + Go Whole: Baby carrots are usually rinsed with chlorine so if avoidable, why not. Also, residual levels of toxic pesticides are found at much higher levels in conventionally grown carrots than in organic carrots and according to research carrots are usually in the top 25 of the most popular fruits and vegetables to have been contaminated.
Last Word: Prepare your carrots in different ways. Raw, highest fiber - Cooked, higher antioxidants - Juiced, eases digestion (but also most sugar) - they each hold different benefits and are delicious! I should give you my mommas Jamaican carrot juice recipe but maybe next time.