I recently received an email from my mom entitled "God's Pharmacy" where it went through various foods, and discussed their visual similarities to the body part that it has been shown to benefit.
I am not here to start a debate on beliefs - you believe what you want, I know my stance. Whether it's Mother Nature, God, coincidence, or just a cool mneumonic device - this cool email also makes a healthy point: these are some good, wholesome, fresh foods that have a lot of value and should be incorporated in to your food intake!
Over time, I want to touch on each of these foods one a time to look at the glory of each, and see what kinds of recipes we can find to incorporate these into a healthy, low-processed diet. Again - you don't need to be 100% raw, but those are my favorite recipes since they maintain the most nutritional content. So the first item on the email....
*Drum roll pleaseeeee.... *
The Carrot! (Of course, you probably knew that from the title of this blog, you clever person, you!)
What's up, Doc!
Here's what the email says about the mighty carrot: "A sliced Carrot resembles the human eye including the pupil, iris, and radiating lines. Science indicates that carrots help protect the vision, especially night vision." Pretty cool, huh?
Yes, vitamin A is wonderful for helping eye vision! Vitamin A travels to the retina, and there it is converted into rhodopsin, a purple pigment that is necessary for night-vision. (wow! Orange to purple! Odd factoid - the first carrots of Asia and Middle East countries were naturally purple!! Hmm, I wonder if you can find those in American stores these days...)
Plus beta-carotene's powerful antioxidant actions help provide protection against macular degeneration and the development of age-related cataracts.
But what else is good about the carrot? Retinoic acids (a form of Vitamin A) are important for healthy skin cells. Keep that skin glowing! It may also help fight acne (always a plus!)
In addition to the beta-carotine that it's popular for, carrots are also being studied for their content of Falcarinol, a phytonutrient that may help reduce certain cancers! Carrots may help prevent cancer of the breast, ladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus.
So that's a lot for one food to do! But we're not through! Believe it, baby - there's more!
Carrots (and other carontenoid-rich foods) may also help with blood sugar regulation - it can help keep you from having those big peaks that least to pesky crashes. Ugg! So snack on Old Orange (the carrot – or the citrus fruit!), and keep your energy level over time.
Carrots are an incredible source of Vitamin A - with 1 cup providing over 680% of the daily recommended value! It is also a good source of vitamins K and C, fiber, and potassium - which is used in building muscle and normal growth, maintaining balance of fluids and acid/alkaline levels, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism.
Just remember the ol' Dirty Dozen list... carrots are among the top twelve produce items on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. So go organic, and wash well!
*Soak carrot sticks in hot water spiced with cayenne, coriander seeds and salt. Allow to cool, drain and serve. (ok, ok, not raw - but still healthy!!)
*Or, if savory isn't your thing and you prefer sweet - soak with a cinnamon stick, some raisins and/or apples, cloves, and a drizzle of honey.
*A simple slaw: shred carrots, apple, and spinach. Toss with organic raisins and drizzle with a light dressing of cold-pressed extra virgil olive oil or squeezed citrus. Season as desired! (Sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cilantro… whatever floats your boat).
*Juice it, baby! Then run the pulp through the juicer another time or two to make sure it's good and juiced. Save the pulp (it freezes well) and use it for other recipes! I like to juice a blend of carrot and orange personally! Get a nice mix of sweet and savory.
So, Bugs Bunny has good eyes and a cancer-free colon! What a wasculy wabbit!
Well, that was a long one, but finally I can say: "(aba-dee, aba-dee) That's all, Folks!" :)