By: Shani Goldner MS RD CDN CFI
Carrots are a crunchy and sweet vegetable that adults and children enjoy. Now, in the fall, is the time that they are in season and they are at their freshest. We can eat carrots plain, in salads, baked, in soups and there are many other creative ways to throw them into your meal; not to mention their frequent role as one of the simanim at our Rosh HaShanah table.
But that’s not all. Carrots are rich in an antioxidant called beta carotene, a branch of vitamin A. Carrots helps protect us from heart disease. One study found that there was a 60% decrease in heart disease risk when they had at least one serving of carrots per day compared to people who never eat carrots. Another benefit of carrots is that they protect your eye sight and keep your night vision in working order. Danish researchers have found that falcarinol; a phytochemical is responsible for protecting carrots from fungal disease. Although this compound can be toxic in extremely large dosages, smaller dosages can protect your body from diseases such as cancer.
When buying carrots, look for ones that are firm, smooth, straight and bright in color. The deeper the orange color, the more beta-carotene it contains. You can enjoy them raw or cooked. Do not worry, you will not lose beta-carotene during the cooking process, cooking them only makes them taste sweeter. Carrots are not only rich in beta carotene. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese, and a good source of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, potassium and copper.
Shani Goldner is a Registered Dietitian and a CDN with a Masters of Science. She runs a private nutrition practice where she counsels children, adolescents and adults in weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular health and cancer related nutrition. She can be reached at (718) 854-5784. She is an Oxford provider. Phone consults are available. Please send questions or comments to mynydiet.com