Include some colorful carrots in your healthy eating plan. They’re not only highly nutritious and low in calories, but they also add a warm spark of color to your lunch or dinner table.
Carrots get their identifiable orange hue from the large amounts of beta-carotene they contain. Beta-carotene is a substance found in a number of fruits and vegetables which the human body is readily able to convert into vitamin A. By eating a half-cup serving of cooked carrots, the body will produce an astounding four times it’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A. This vitamin plays an important role in retinal health, proving true the common saying that eating carrots is good for the eyes.
Beta-carotene has also been observed to strengthen the immune system, and is considered a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that beta-carotene may be especially effective at protecting the body against lung cancer, and recent research suggests it may also play a role in combating heart disease. These results have not been achieved with dietary supplements; to get the most from beta-carotene, it’s best to consume the naturally-occurring variety found in foods.
Carrots also provide an excellent source of dietary fiber and other important vitamins, like vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. What’s more, they’re a good source of minerals like iron and copper. At a mere 50 calories per raw cup, carrots are an ideal element to include in any healthy eating strategy.
Carrots make an excellent side dish, and are delicious when served along with nearly any type of meat or fish entree. This recipe for honeyed carrots goes well with lean beef or pork cuts, oven-roasted chicken, or your favorite fish fillet. For an elegant vegetarian feast, serve it alongside grilled soy burgers or falafel sandwiches.
6 cups water
3 pounds raw carrots, scrubbed (or peeled, if you prefer) and cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon butter
4-5 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
Bring the water to a boil in a heavy skillet or large cooking pot and add the carrots. Place a lid on the pot and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for between 8-10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Drain liquid, pat the carrots dry with a clean dish towel, transfer to serving dish and set aside.
Use the original skillet or pot to make the glaze. In it, combine all the remaining ingredients and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the glaze begins to bubble. Add the carrots and stir together for about three minutes. Transfer all back to the serving dish and pour any remaining glaze over the carrots.
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