Remember Bugs Bunny? That big-tooth, wise guy rabbit? Besides always tormenting poor Elmer Fudd, Bugs was always doing something else. Chomping on a carrot. Now, I'm not one to watch cartoons these days, let alone be inspired by one of their characters, but we can learn a lot from Bugs. Not about how to annoy a funny-voiced wabbit hunter, but by enjoying the myriad health benefits of carrots.
Recently, I wrote a post about apples that received some nice feedback. This was on the heels of a blog entry about the wonders of beans in your daily diet. Now carrots. I could have started with apples, followed by beans, and then added this entry about carrots, and called it the ABC's of Nutrition, but my brain isn't that organized. Maybe I'm more like Bugs after all: I am a bit of a wiseguy, I have been told that I can be annoying at times, and I do love carrots.
Besides being an excellent source of fiber and low in calories (one cup of chopped raw carrots has only 50 calories), carrots are loaded with good stuff for you. Like potassium, antioxidants and pro-vitamin A carotene. These protect against cardiovascular disease and all types of cancer (especially colon cancer, because of falcarinol, a phytochemical found in carrots), and promote good vision, especially night vision. Yup, carrots really are good for your eyesight!
And good news for you smokers and, hopefully, soon-to-be, ex-smokers. Vitamin A-rich foods like carrots promote healthy lungs by counteracting the vitamin A deficiency caused by cigarette smoke.
Eat them raw or cooked, in salads or as a vegetable side dish, in a soup or to use as a scoop for your favorite (low-fat) dip, just eat them. Or drink them (carrot juice, try it!) Every day, if you can, and you will benefit from all that healthy beta-carotene.
So next time you hear the words from that famous Looney Tune, "Ah, what's up, Doc?" The answer should be, "Ah, carrots, that's what."
Until next time...