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A plant from the parsley family with feathery green leaves sprouting from the top of the root and an orange root that can be eaten raw or cooked. The orange root has a sweet flavor and is one of the most popular and versatile root vegetable available.

Carrots began to be produced in two different types of colors in Europe when first grown. Still available today from some producers, Carrots may be grown either as a dark purple or a yellow-colored root. Orange Carrots contain the most nutrients, providing antioxidants in the form of carotenoids and beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A as the body digests the root of the carrot. In addition, a carrot provides Vitamin C and Calcium as additional nutritional benefits. The nutrients present in Carrots are also considered to provide medical benefits to help fight various types of cancer, heart ailments, and cataracts.

When cooking Carrots, be careful not to overcook or allow the root to become mushy, which will decrease the amount of beta-carotene available as a nutrient. If the Carrots are steam cooked into a tender crisp texture, more nutrients are preserved for the human body.

Tip: When making a salad, consider sautéing slices of carrots in a healthy olive oil. Then add the slices to the salad. Since the beta-carotene in the carrots is fat soluable, the olive oil is absorbed into the carrot and then is able to be absorbed by the body more effectively so more beta-carotene is consumed as a nutrient. When purchasing Carrots, choose those that are bright in color, those with more orange coloring containing greater amounts of beta carotene. Choose those that are firm in texture, and do not have dried areas where the root has short splits or cracks that expose the inside flesh of the root. If the Carrots still have their green leafy tops attached to the root, store them in a plastic bag so they remain fresh for 1 to 2 weeks. It is wise, when buying Carrots with the leafy greens still attached to the top of the root, to trim the greens off to within an inch of the top of the root. The leafy greens remove moisture from the root as they draw it up into the greens where it evaporates and is lost. This causes the the root to become dry, limp, and creates a loss of nutrients.

USDA Nutrition Facts

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