Friday, July 3, 2009

Cook Your Carrots Whole to Ward Off Cancer

Eh...What's up, doc? Take a hint from your old friend Bugs bunny and cook your carrots whole for the biggest health benefit! OK, so you might need to invest in some bigger pots, but according to researchers, the cancer-fighting benefits of carrots are increased by a whopping 25% if you just cook them whole!

The science behind this recommendation is as follows: when you chop up your carrots (and other veggies) before you cook them, you increase the surface area that is exposed to boiling water or other heat sources, allowing precious and valuable nutrients to escape into their surroundings or be destroyed. In the case of carrots, 25% of the cancer-fighting nutrient falcarinol is lost when you chop them up before cooking. Skip the chopping and boost the benefit by 25%!

Oftentimes, heating veggies actually helps you absorb nutrients better, as is the case of carrots and tomatoes, but on the other hand, exposure to heat (and even light) can also destroy invaluable nutrients such as vitamin C, some B vitamins and even vitamin A. So, in order to get the full effect and benefit from the fruits and veggies you're consuming, try quick-cooking them whole (just blanche them) and then chopping them up after. Yes, folks, it's OK to cut them into bite-sized pieces don't need to actually eat your carrots à la Bugs (but who's judging?)!

So the question remains - does this really matter to you? Are you going to notice any marked improvements in your health? Well, I say this - if we're so concerned with eliminating our exposure to minuscule amounts of BPA, pesticides and chemicals in our diet, then why don't we try to increase the minuscule benefits of foods in our diet. We're all aware that the effects of these compounds are cumulative, so in the long-haul, who knows how much (or how little) our health will improve by making small changes in our daily lives. Give it a shot! What have you got to lose?