Care of Amy Symington: ameliaeats.com

You don’t need to be Bugs Bunny to appreciate the satisfaction of biting into a freshly picked crisp, sweet carrot. Noted as the second favourite vegetable worldwide, carrots come in every colour of the rainbow from orange to purple to yellow to red and are the beginning of any good stock, salad, stir fry or cake.

The modest carrot although often taken for granted is packed with piles of potential health benefits. They are of course most noted for their high levels of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A which aids with vision, skin and cell integrity and immunity. Beta-carotene is also an anti-oxidant that prevents against oxidative stress caused by free radicals from sources like UV rays and pollution. Consequently, it is well known for its anti-aging properties and for healthy skin.

Carrots also contain phytonutrients called polyacetylenes which have been shown to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. Interestingly, the beta carotene that is present in carrots helps prevent the oxidation of the polyacetylenes, allowing them to do their job.

Carrots are also high in dietary fibre which aids in digestion, healthy weight loss and/or maintenance, promoting beneficial bacteria in the gut and indirectly helping with the absorption of nutrients. Moreover, orange and yellow foods have also been shown to provide the most protection against cardiovascular disease.

When storing carrots be certain to wrap them in a damp towel or cloth in a sealed baggie to retain the most amount of beta-carotene.