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Vegetable of the Week #12: Carrots

While carrots may not be the cure-all for eyesight woes, they are certainly chock full of nutrients. They contain beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant which is associated with a decreased risk of various cancers. Having a normal level of vitamin A certainly prevents night blindness. As a rough estimate, 1/2 cup of raw carrots provides at least 100% of the RDA for vitamin A for children under 9 years of age, about 2/3 of the RDA for children 9-13 years of age and at least 1/2 of the RDA for children above 13 years of age and adults.

Carrots contain about three times as much potassium as sodium, which according to the American Heart Association is a great ratio to help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. Carrots also have fiber: 2 g per 1/2 cup serving. Carrots also contain wellness-promoting vitamin C - another reason to include them in that chicken soup! One-half cup of carrots even has 20 mg of calcium.

Carrots can be added to a wide variety of dishes - salads, soups, stir fries, and the like - or eaten on their own. They are a great first food for babies as well.

One trick I am looking forward to trying is to grate carrots using the disk blade of the food processor.

Keep crunching on those carrots and have a wonderful day!

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