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Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Foodpairings for Carrots

Carrots are a tasty and nutritious choice for anyone looking to improve their health. They are versatile vegetables that can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced and are a big part of many different recipes. From boosting immunity and brain function to preserving vision and regulating blood sugar, there are many health benefits to eating carrots [i].

Due to these numerous health advantages, carrots have been a popular crop worldwide for hundreds of years.

A Brief History of Carrots

Carrots were first grown for food in Afghanistan in 900 BC. They were used for medicine in Asia over 3,000 years ago. However, Western Europe did not grow carrots until the 1300s[ii]. They were brought to North America unintentionally by Europeans during colonization[iii].

However, carrots were not always orange. They used to be white. Other colours, such as purple and yellow, likely occurred unintentionally around 1,100 years ago. Humans then began to grow these colors to differentiate them from wild ones. Further breeding resulted in orange carrots (which contain large amounts of beta-carotene) emerging around 500 years ago[iv].

It is this beta carotene that provides carrots with many of their health benefits.

Carrots: Health Benefits

There are many good reasons to eat carrots as a regular part of your diet. As mentioned, they contain high levels of beta-carotene. This pigment is called a carotenoid and is considered an antioxidant[v]. Antioxidants protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals, molecules your body produces when exposed to toxins, such as smoke or pollution[vi].

Antioxidants are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce tissue damage, protect brain health, enhance immunity, and much more[vii].

Carrots also contain provitamin A carotenoids, which your body converts into vitamin A[viii]. Vitamin A helps your body fight infections. These carotenoids may also decrease your risk of age-related macular degeneration in your eyes[ix].

Carrot Foodpairings

While carrots have many health benefits on their own, you can see more significant benefits and truly unlock the nutritional power of carrots by combining them with other foods. One of the main goals of Foodpairing with Purpose is to help people recognize how eating certain foods together can increase the health benefits of eating those foods alone.

Here are some of the best carrot foodpairings:

  • Carrot + Cabbage

    • The anti-inflammatory properties of carrots may help prevent cancer, especially when combined with the glucosinolates found in cabbage. This combination can protect cells from DNA damage and may reduce cancer risk[x].

  • Carrot + Cod

    • Both carrots and cod contain high amounts of vitamin A[xi], which helps your eyes convert light more efficiently, improving vision and assisting people in seeing better in low light[xii].

    • In addition, this combination can help nourish the liver.

  • Carrot + Mung Bean Sprout

    • Mung beans can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure[xiii]. When combined with the antioxidants in carrots, this combination can help detoxify your body and control your weight.

  • Carrot + Broccoli

    • Eating carrots and broccoli can help promote a healthy gut and reduce gut inflammation[xiv].

  • Carrot + Cilantro

    • Both carrots and cilantro contain high levels of vitamin A, which helps reduce inflammation and manage blood sugar[xv]. This combination can also help improve digestion.

  • Carrot + Honey

    • Honey has been found to help relieve gastrointestinal tract conditions[xvi]. When combined with the fiber in carrots (which helps ease constipation and keep you regular)[xvii], the foods help detoxify and cleanse your body.

As mentioned, carrots are a very versatile food that you can incorporate into many recipes. One of the unique aspects of carrots is that they may provide more benefits to the body when cooked rather than when eaten raw[xviii]. Boiling and steaming better preserves the antioxidants, particularly the carotenoids, in carrots than frying. This is contrary to what occurs in other vegetables, where cooking can destroy some of the vitamins in the food[xix].

However, this does not necessarily mean that you should not eat carrots raw or juiced, as there are still benefits to eating them in these ways. Slicing, crushing, or juicing carrots can help make it easier for your body to absorb their nutrients when eating them raw[xx].

When You Should AVOID Carrots

Though carrots are a very healthy food that should be a regular part of your diet, there are some situations where you may want to avoid eating them. The first potential warning is that eating too many carrots can change the pigment of your skin. If you eat a lot of carrots (or other foods that contain high levels of beta-carotene), your skin could turn slightly orange or yellowish [xxi].

In addition, avoid eating carrots with foods such as white radishes because carrots contain vitamin C decomposition enzymes. These can destroy the vitamin C in white radishes and other foods high in vitamin C, such as kiwi fruit, apples, lemons, grapefruit, and tomatoes. These combinations aren’t dangerous, but eating in this way does not optimize the nutrition you get from these foods individually

[i] Retrieved 2023 January 2. “8 Health Benefits of Carrots

[ii] Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “Fact Sheet: Carrot

[iii] Britannica. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “Carrot

[iv] The Economist. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “How did carrots become orange?

[v] WebMD. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “Beta-Carotene - Uses, Side Effects, and More”.

[vii] VeryWell Fit. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “Health Benefits of Antioxidants

[viii] National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “Vitamin A and Carotenoids

[ix] Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 2023 January 2. “Reasons Why Carrots (of All Colors) Are Healthy For You

[x] National Cancer Institute. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention

[xi] Safe Beat. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Is Cod Healthy? The Health Benefits And Side Effects

[xii] Scientific American. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Fact or Fiction?: Carrots Improve Your Vision

[xiii] Healthline. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “10 Impressive Health Benefits of Mung Beans

[xiv] National Institute of Food and Agriculture Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Like It or Not: Broccoli May Be Good for the Gut”.

[xv] WebMD. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Health Benefits of Cilantro

[xvi] Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2023 January 3. ”Honey

[xvii] WebMD. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Carrots

[xviii] Scientific American. Retrieved 2023 January3. “Fact or Fiction: Raw Veggies are Healthier than Cooked Ones

[xix] NDTV. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Are Raw Carrots More Nutritious Than Cooked Carrots?

[xx] SFGate. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Is it Better to Drink Carrot Juice or Eat Whole Carrots?

[xxi] Taste of Home. Retrieved 2023 January 3. “Can You Really Get Orange Skin from Eating Too Many Carrots?

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