Stand up for carrots

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

Dr Google tells me that carrots are quite good for dogs which is good because my little dog Maisy likes them, and I think they'd be as good for her teeth as they are ours. I know bones are meant to be better for dog's teeth but having found too many gnawed and gnarly bones buried under our white lounge she's on carrots from now on.

We should be on carrots too because Dr Google, and just about every nutritionist, dietitian, and medical expert I've ever spoken to gives carrots the thumbs up. They're hardly a seductive vegetable which is why I want to stand up for carrots.

Did you know for example, that a diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer's-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease? Now I realise the study was on mice but if you have a history of Alzheimer's in the family why would you wait for a conclusive result in humans before you started eating a carrot a day?

It's not only Alzheimer's that we should be eating carrots for. For weight loss, reduced cholesterol, reduced risk of macular degeneration and certain cancers, carrots are king.

Let's delve deeper - why are carrots good for weight loss?

The edible portion of a carrot is around 10% carbohydrate while the rest is water and raw carrots takes some amount of eating. Think about how long it will take you to crunch your way through a medium sized raw carrot compared to, for example, a scotch finger biscuit. You'd have the biscuit knocked off in about a quarter of the time it takes to munch through the carrot and the biscuit contains 4 times more kilojoules. Granted, a carrot may not be so great dipped into a cup of tea but then again who know? I've never tried dunking a carrot into tea, it may be delicious.

The carrot also adds a couple of grams of fibre to your recommended daily digestive quota, and, unlike the biscuit, is guaranteed not to contain trans fats.

Raw carrot score low on the glycaemic index which is good for weight watchers and those trying to control their blood sugar levels.
Soluble fibre, called pectin helps to feed friendly gut and other nutrients such as vitamin A, K, B6, and potassium, work to promote good vision, promote bone health and blood coagulation, convert food into energy and regulate blood pressure.

And then there's the cancer fighting properties. Carotenoids found in are plant compounds with powerful antioxidant activity which improves immune function and appear to reduce the risk of some cancers. Beta-carotene is also another important antioxidant which can be converted into vitamin A in your body. Good for the eyes and the immune function.

So it's good news all round about carrots - one thing though - if you eat too many you'll turn orange like President Trump but if you stick to one or two a day you really can't go wrong.


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