The Carrot is from the family Apiaceae with the botanical name of Daucus carota. Carrots are a common Root vegetable with a traditional orange colour. Though the orange variety is the typical favourite, there are white, purple and red varieties available. The vegetable of the carrot plant is a nutrient rich taproot.

The original ancestor of the carrot was grown in the wild in Europe and Asia, it had an unpalatable woody cored root. The sweet juicy carrot we know today was bred from this wild variety.

The carrot plant grows to around 1 metre including the flowering stalk. It is a biennial flowering in its second year. If left top flower, the carrot root is unpalatable, with a woody core.

Carrots are a nutritious vegetable that is a source of carbohydrates with a sugary base. They are low in Fat and a good source of dietary fibre and protein. A carrots Vitamin A content is perhaps its most significant value. A good source of B Group vitamins, though negligible in comparison to Vitamin A. Carrots are a good source of Vitamin C and contain Phosphorous, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium and Potassium.

Carrots can be incorporated into the diet in an almost unlimited number of ways:

Carrot Juice is a super nutritious drink to start the day or can be mixed with other juices for a simple lunchtime treat. The pulp from carrot juice can be used in soups or added to rissoles.

Carrots can be boiled or steamed and used as a traditional side vegetable. They are ideally served with drizzle of honey. Leaving the skins on adds to the nutrition value.

Baked carrots are an excellent addition to any Roast meal. Par boiling before baking will help speed up the baking process while preventing them from burning due to the high sugar content.

Grated carrots are perfect for mixing through salads and on sandwiches with a light mayonnaise. They can also be added to rissoles and vegetable patties.

Raw carrot sticks are excellent for children’s lunches and snacks, a light cream cheese makes an excellent carrot stick dip.

Stews, Soups and Casseroles can all be improved with the addition of carrots.

Carrot seed oil is used in skin care, hair care and cosmetic products. The oil can be used in creams and lotions or added to massage oil bases.

The largest health benefits with carrots come from its high Vitamin A component. Regular consumption of carrots will aid in regularity of Bowel Motions and will assist in cleansing the digestive tract. Carrots will assist in maintaining good heart health and may assist in keeping blood running through clearer veins.

Carrot juice makes an ideal carrier juice for other supplement needs and for blending with other juices.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites... for Organic Health related products and information on living an Organic Lifestyle for general health information and articles on living a Healthy Lifestyle.

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