A few years ago, a flurry of internet concerns circulated about baby carrots not really being a young baby vegetable, as was implied.
The truth of all that uproar is that carrots were saved from their own demise, simply by manufacturers whittling them down to a small, edible size. What happened next is that Americans started to consume carrots like never before. It was a brilliant marketing strategy that also reduced the wasting of deformed and unwanted carrots (sigh). Without a doubt, the carrot is the premier vegetable delivering the highest per serving of an important nutrient: beta carotene. The Carrot Museum is a cool website that gives considerable details on this orange cutie, so check it out.
One word of caution; some carrots are washed in chlorinated water to preserve them, so be aware of that unwanted chemical. Some alternative packaging uses more friendly preservatives, like citric acid.
Food as Medicine
The carrot, with its high beta carotene content, helps maintain good eyesight and has beneficial effects for the liver, our main detoxifying organ. Additionally, carrots are high in antioxidants and fiber, which explains why they help with constipation and/or diarrhea. Dr. Michael Murray, in his book: Encyclopedia of Healing Foods (highly recommended resource guide), suggests: “ A diet of one carrot per day could conceivably cut the rate of lung cancer in half.”1
In the aging population, loss of vision is caused by two major diseases: cataracts and macular degeneration. The intake of adequate daily beta carotene (think one good sized carrot) is an excellent preventative for these two problems.
Carrots are great used as a skin poultice. Simply grate a raw carrot, and place over a burn or scraped skin to promote healing. I have used carrots as an eye poultice for tired, sore eyes. Try it!
Recommendations: get creative with carrots. Eat them raw, locally and organically grown, and leave the skin intact, as the skin is where most nutrients lie. If the carrots are not organic, then peel the skin. Drink 6-8 oz of carrot juice several times a week. Try roasting them, using this wonderful recipe.
1.Michael Murray ND, The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Pocket Books, NY,p.72