Foods with super-healing powers: Carrots
Carrots are a great source of the potent antioxidants known as carotenoids. Diets high in carotenoids have been tied to a decreased risk in postmenopausal breast cancer as well as cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Conversely, diets low in carotenoids have been associated with chronic disease, including heart disease and various cancers. Research suggests that just one carrot per day could reduce your risk of lung cancer by half. Carrots may also reduce your risk of kidney and ovarian cancers. In addition to fighting cancer, the nutrients in carrots inhibit cardiovascular disease, stimulate the immune system, promote colon health, and support ear and eye health.
Carrots contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C, and an incredible amount of vitamin A. The alpha-carotene in carrots has shown promise in inhibiting tumor growth. Carrots also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which work together to promote eye health and prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. In Chinese medicine, carrots are used to treat rheumatism, kidney stones, tumors, indigestion, diarrhea, night blindness, ear infections, earaches, deafness, skin lesions, urinary tract infections, coughs, and constipation.
How much: Eat a serving of carrots each day if you can, and enjoy them year-round. Carrots are good for you whether they're raw or lightly cooked; cooking helps break down the tough fiber, making some of the nutrients more easily absorbed. For the best nutrition, go for whole carrots that are firm and fresh-looking. Precut baby carrots are made from whole carrots and, although they're convenient, they tend to lose important nutrients during processing.
Remove carrot tops before storing them in the fridge, as the tops drain moisture from the roots and will cause the carrots to wilt.
Buy organic; conventionally grown carrots frequently show high pesticide residues.