Eat more carrots to improve your sight

Published On: Jun 05 2012 09:24:26 AM PDT   Updated On: Jun 18 2012 12:47:13 PM PDT
carrots and celery on cutting board, vegetables

By Jessica, Pure Matters

Carrots may be around all year long, but spring is when you’ll start seeing them in the farmer’s markets. These root vegetables are sweet, delectable babies, a perfect symbol of the season’s association with growth and rebirth. Not only do they taste great right now, but they’re great for you, too. Here’s why.

Carrots and Your Eyes
First, the bad news: if you’re reading this with glasses on, eating more carrots isn’t going to restore your vision to 20/20. But if your sight is good, the beta-carotene in this vegetable can help stave off a decline in vision, as well as many eye-related diseases. In fact, studies have shown that, due to the quantity of Vitamin A and lutein in carrots, those who consumed them regularly were 40-60 percent less likely to develop macular degeneration. Just one cup of carrots has more than 400 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, a nutrient that, when lacking, is a leading cause of blindness around the world. See what I mean about carrots being healthy? (Bad pun, I know.)

Carrots and Your Heart
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, and eating it regularly protects your cardiovascular system from damage from free radicals. And that’s not all -- carrots also contain several other heart-healthy nutrients, including Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and folate.

Carrots and Your Colon
The dietary fiber and potassium in carrots can help to keep your digestive tract healthy, but this vegetable could also protect you from colon cancer. A study done early this year showed that luteolin -- a flavanoid, or antioxidant, found in carrots -- can help slow down the growth of colon cancer.

How to Get More Carrots into Your Diet
The second best thing about carrots -- first being that they’re delicious, of course -- is their versatility. You can enjoy them raw, cooked, juiced or pureed. It’s so easy to make these guys a part of your diet! Here are a few ideas, perfect as part of an Easter or spring brunch spread.