Carrots and sweet potatoes may seem a bit boring but they have some amazing health benefits and are easy to incorporate into your day. Both of these beautiful vegetables contain beta carotene which is a red-orange pigment that gives sweet potatoes and carrots their vibrant color and contains powerful antioxidants. This pigment converts into vitamin A and is an essential vitamin to boost the immune system and promote eye health.
Fun fact: one medium baked sweet potato contains more than 400% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin A. One sweet potato per day keeps the eye doctor away.
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and are a great source of energy for the body because they are a carbohydrate. They are filled with fiber as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. The fiber content in sweet potatoes helps your digestive system by feeding the tiny microbes in your intestines which helps promote a healthy gut. When your gut is healthy your body has an easier time digesting the food you eat thus ensuring your body is properly utilizing nutrients from food.
Carrots are not as naturally sweet as sweet potatoes are but they contain many important vitamins such as vitamin K, C, B6, as well as niacin and potassium. They specifically contain antibacterial properties and are a rich source of vitamin C which helps stimulate white blood cells in the body. Fiber is also prevalent in carrots and helps reduce blood pressure by pulling excess LDL cholesterol out of the body and eliminating it.
Fun fact: eating one carrot each day can help reduce your risk of stroke by 68%!
Here are some ways you can incorporate these glorious vegetables into your day:
- Keep carrots with you for a snack on the go
- Incorporate sweet potatoes into your breakfast skillet
- Add a carrot to your smoothie or juicer
- Eat a sweet potato for dinner as your carbohydrate
- Steam carrots to have with lunch or dinner
- Bake your own sweet potato chips to have as a snack
- Add carrots to your salad, stir fry, or casserole dish
Improve your immune system during this pandemic by increasing your intake of carrots and sweet potatoes. Here is a recipe for a sweet potato and carrot casserole. Stay healthy Warhawks!
– Rachael Omdoll, Campus Dietitian