God’s Medicine Chest: Carrots

August 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I actually wrote this post almost a year and a half ago when I had big plans to start a series of “God’s Medicine Chest” posts, but I never shared it on this blog. I love learning about the healing power of everyday foods. Especially when those foods are easy to grow and/or purchase organically. Here are some carrots we grew in our winter garden…

And here’s some cool stuff I’ve learned about carrots that might be new and helpful to you…

Fun Facts
    • Carrots are native to Afghanistan.
    • Originally, carrots were only used for medicinal purposes rather than as food.
    • Ancient Greeks used carrots to treat stomachaches. [I’ve started doing this myself.  When someone in my house has a stomachache, they know the first thing I’m going to say is, “Will you eat some raw carrots?” Nine times out of ten, it works!]
    • Carrots were originally white, purple, red, yellow, green, or black. Orange carrots came from the Dutch who cultivated them for the House of Orange.
    • Carrots are a rich source of the anti-oxidant beta-carotene and also contain vitamins B and C, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium.
For Prevention
    • Eating carrots regularly reduces blood cholesterol levels.
    • Carrots (and other vegetables high in beta-carotene) reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein–a key marker for cardiovascular disease risk.
    • Carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of macular degeneration–vision loss occurring primarily in the elderly.
    • Studies indicate that eating carrots (and other vegetables high in beta-carotene) regularly can significantly slash your risks of developing many forms of cancer including cancers of the bladder, cervix, colon, prostate, breast, ovary, lung, and kidney.
For Healing
    • Raw carrots (or raw carrot juice) can kill some food poisoning organisms, including listeria (the one that keeps pregnant women away from cold cuts).  This makes me think the ancient Greeks were onto something in using carrots for stomachaches.  If you suspect you might have food poisoning, it couldn’t hurt to try some carrots or carrot juice.
    • Raw carrots are packed full of fiber so they may be an aid for constipation.
A Few Tips
    • Always peel carrots before eating unless they’re organic or home-grown.  Conventionally grown carrots are treated with a lot of pesticides.
    • Trim the greenery from carrots before storing them in the refrigerator.  Carrot greens will suck vitamins and moisture out of the roots before you eat them.
    • Carrots should be cooked whole to retain the best flavor and most nutrients.
    • Re-use your carrot-cooking water in sauces, soups, or for moistening other foods to get the most out of the nutrients lost from the carrots in the cooking process.
Makes you want to munch some carrot sticks, doesn’t it?  Would you like to see more “God’s Medicine Chest” posts in the future?
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Sources
Healing Foods, by Miriam Polunin
The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies, by Selene Yeager
Power Plants, by Kim O’Neill and Byron Murray
Carrots cooked whole are better for your health (Newcastle University Press Release)
Inhibitory effects of raw carrots on Listeria monocytogenes. (Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 June; 56(6): 1734–1742)