If there was an ever a vegetable that can be made in a hundred different ways it has got to be the carrot! Used in both sweet and savoury preparations, carrots are loved by both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foodies. It makes beautiful sides for your meats, raw - it can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, and more importantly carrots give you so many health benefits that it should definitely be included in your diet regularly.
Here's why I have a love affair with them!
1. Improves Vision - There's some truth in the old wisdom that carrots are good for your eyes. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the liver. And Vitamin A is good for your eyes, especially for night vision. Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against senile cataracts.
2. Helps Prevent Cancer - Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide produced by the carrot that protects its roots from fungal diseases. Carrots are one of the only common sources of this compound. A study showed 1/3 lower cancer risk by carrot-eating rats.
3. Slows Down Aging -The high level of beta-carotene in carrots acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells. Now who doesn't love that!
4. Promotes Healthier Skin - Vitamin A and antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of Vitamin A cause dryness to the skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes and uneven skin tone.
5. Helps Prevent Infection - Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts; shredded raw or boiled and mashed.
6. Promotes Healthier Skin (from the outside) - Carrots are used as an inexpensive and very convenient facial mask. Just mix grated carrot with a bit of honey and apply! (I know this isn't necessarily a health benefit you get from consuming carrots but you can make use of the bits you throw away).
7. Prevents Heart Disease - Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibres in carrots bind with bile acids.
8. Cleanses The Body - Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. It reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fibre present in carrots helps clean out the colon and fastens the waste movement.
9. Protects Teeth And Gums - It's all in the crunch! Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
10. Prevents Strokes - A Harvard University study found that, people who ate five or more carrots a week were less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate only one carrot a month or less.
Eating any vegetable or fruit in its purest form is the way you can benefit from all of its nutrients. So we advise you to cut up carrots into sticks or grate them and eat it raw. You can season in it if you like but cooking it will only reduce its nutritional value.
Yet, here is a simple recipe to make Honey Glazed Carrots. It is a little different from the usual ways that we prepare carrots. It is something I quite enjoy and can eat a whole bowl full of and encourage you to try out a home!
500g of carrots
2 tablespoons of honey
Tablespoon of butter
Salt to taste
Boil the carrots first till they're tender. The time will depend on the size but take it off the heat before it becomes too soft.
Cut the carrots in any way you prefer. Roughly keep it 1 inch thick.
In a pan add the honey and butter followed by the carrots. However if you don't have honey at your disposal you can also use brown sugar. Just wait till the sugar completely dissolves to add the carrots. But of course honey is the healthier option.
Cook, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and carrots are glazed. Don't forget to season it and finally sprinkle it with some cinnamon powder.