Carrots are well-known for their health benefits. However, most people only know about the connection that carrots have with the eyes. My mother always used to tell me that if I ate my carrots, I’d be able to see in the dark. While I learned that she was exaggerating just a tiny bit, the benefits of carrot are not to be overlooked. Carrot nutrition benefits are body-wide and prove that carrots should definitely be a staple in your diet!
Carrot nutrition benefits
The benefits of carrot nutrition are widespread. Carrots are known to help improve many health conditions:
- Reduce cholesterol
- Improve heart health and lower the risk of heart-related disease
- Improve vision
- Lessen the risk of certain cancers, and even helps to stop people from aging prematurely
Convinced yet? If not, let’s add some more benefits of carrot nutrition. Carrots have the amazing ability to keep skin looking youthful, help prevent you from getting sick, keep your digestive system in tip-top shape, remove toxins from the body, and even keep your mouth and teeth healthy!
Aside from that, carrot nutrition benefits include a wealth of important dietary vitamins and minerals such as fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K, and B8, pantothenic acid, copper, folate, manganese, potassium, and copper. Phew! That’s a lot. So much, in fact, that carrots can’t really be replaced in the diet. We need them, and they’re so cheap that there’s almost no reason not to include them in your diet!
Grow your own carrot
Even if carrots are cheap, there’s still a better way to get them into your diet. If you have some space a little time, it’s wise and pretty easy to grow your own carrots.
This popular root vegetable can be grown in any loose, gritty soil and they’re even tolerant of frost, making them easily able to be grown in many of the world’s climates. It’s important for the soil you plant carrots in to not be too dense or heavy, otherwise carrots won’t develop their classic pointed long shape, and you’ll instead end up with carrot balls.
To grow your own carrots, you’ll need about four months of time. Carrot plants start as a seed. They last an entire season before yielding an edible root with all carrot nutrition benefits. You should plant your carrots outside where they’ll get full sunlight and minimal shade for best results. You can also plant them in moderate light. They should be planted 3-5 weeks before the date of the last spring frost. If you don’t know when that is, you can search your area online along with the term “spring frost date” and see the date of the last frost in previous years.
Plant the carrot seeds outside 3-5 weeks before the spring frost date. The seeds themselves should be planted with 3-4 inches of space between each seed. You can plant them in rows as long as you plant the rows with about 12in of space between them. The seeds also don’t like manure, so it’s best to avoid using it around your carrot plants.
Caring for the plant
In order to grow your own carrots, you have to consider how you’ll care for them after they’re planted. Carrots need mulch so that they can retain some of the moisture they receive either from your watering or from the rain. Mulch also helps to increase the speed at which the seed germinates. Meaning it lessens the amount of time you’ll need to wait for edible carrots because it helps to block the sun from directly penetrating the roots.
Soon, your plants will start growing tall and thin green stalks. Once they get to about an inch in height, you should thin them with scissors so that they have about three inches from the next plant. They don’t need a lot of water, so you really only need to tend to them once a week or so. However, unlike most plants, carrots cannot tolerate weeds. Weeds must be removed continually and not allowed to grow.
Since carrot plants are biennial plants, they’ll continue to yield season after season as long as they’re maintained. In fact, it’s said that carrots taste the best after they’ve gone through a few touches of frost. To protect carrot plants in the winter time, cover them with about 1.5ft of leaves and then leave them be until a few weeks before the last frost of spring, where you can rake the leaves away and let the plants breathe again.
After about 2.5-3 months, carrots will be ready to harvest. Harvest them only when you’d like to eat them, as the soil will actually keep them and they won’t rot. Once you harvest them, twist the tops of the carrots to remove the stalks and clean the dirt off the root under warm running water. Dry it and store it in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
Uses of carrots
Carrot nutrition benefits are great for humans, as we’ve covered, and are also a healthy treat for dogs. For some human recipes that feature carrots, I recommend carrot-based desserts such as carrot cupcakes with a cream-cheese frosting. These cupcakes are moderately sweet, meaning they’re not too hard on the sweet tooth. The cream cheese adds a nice balance of sweet and savory that you and your family won’t be able to keep their hands off.
For a real food, you can make honey-glazed carrots as a delicious side dish that pairs well with any kind of meat. Carrots add nice autumn flavors to any dish. Of course, no matter what you make with carrots, the freshness and satisfaction of growing them yourself automatically make any meal taste a million times better. Okay, okay. Maybe I’m a bit biased. But try growing your own carrots and adding them to your regular meals. You won’t be disappointed!