Most everyone in the world has eaten carrots at one time or another. However, along with their incredible popularity, there are also some glaring misconceptions. Many people believe a carrot is bright orange in color and is good for the eyesight due to the enormous amounts of Vitamin C it carries within. Well, the truth of the matter is carrots were formerly every color but orange. In fact, when they were first cultivated in Afghanistan back in the 7th Century, carrots had purple exteriors and yellow flesh.
It wasn't until the Middle Ages, when the orange carrot as we now recognize it today, was developed by the Dutch. Furthermore, it does not contain high doses of Vitamin C, but rather Carotene which in turn metabolizes into Vitamin A inside the human intestine. A lack of Vitamin A can cause poor vision.
Carrots can be consumed in a variety of ways. They are oftentimes chopped and boiled. They can be fried or steamed as well. Sometimes they will be added to soups or stews. Another popular use is for baby and pet foods.
Often, carrots will be turned in to juice, which is often marketed as a health drink when blended with fruits and other vegetables.
Due to the fact the carrot is inherently sweet, it has long been used for desserts and candies. The Irish are known to make a carrot pudding, while the French make a cream with candied slivers of carrots in it. The Jewish community has long been using carrots to create a sort of sweet carrot stew called tzimmes.
In terms of health, carrots can be used to treat digestive problems, intestinal parasites and constipation. While massive overconsumption of carrots can lead to hypercarotenemia. This is a condition in which the skin turns orange.
Carrots are rich in carotene, dietary fiber, antioxidants and minerals. In addition, they contain Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium. As you can see, in terms of nutritional value carrots represent an important part of any healthy diet. Here is one of my favorite recipes for carrot muffins.
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