Colorful Carrots: Crunch Your Way to Good Health this Winter

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Colorful Carrots: Crunch Your Way to Good Health this Winter

Available throughout most of the year, carrots are a staple of a healthy diet and a well-known source of Vitamin A. Contrary to popular notion, Vitamin A is not a single nutrient, but a group of related nutrients: retinols and carotenoids. Our bodies require retinol for supporting a healthy immune system among other biological functions. Retinols are found in animal foods, but the body can also make retinol from carotenoids. Carotenoids are largely found in vegetables–and carrots are at the top of the list.

The carotenoids found in carrots have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties counter processes that can lead to illness and chronic disease. Bonus: The human body does a great job converting carotenoids into retinoid forms within the body. This means that having a daily dose is a real boost to the immune system and other systems that help protect you from illness.

When purchasing carrots, look for organic bunches with deep green tops and firm bodies. All colors (yellow, red, white, purple, orange) are good for your health. All varieties are delicious and may be enjoyed raw, steamed, or in a stir-fry dish. Boiling is not recommended as that can deplete nutrient density. You can also use carrots in fermenting recipes, pickling, and add to broth or stew. Shredded carrots can be added into cake or cookie recipes, ground-meat or meatless entrees such as meatloaf and burgers. The possibilities are carrot-astic!

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