Did you know that feathery fresh carrot tops were worn to adorn hair in Shakespeare's day?
Today it's carrots' vibrant orange pigment, known as carotene, that's getting attention. Beta carotene turns into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant vitamin. New research suggests that carrots' carotenoids may also reduce cancer risk, slow aging and reduce some diabetes-related symptoms. In farmer's markets, heirloom carrots — scarlet, maroon, golden yellow, purple — are showing up, contributing still other antioxidants (such as anthocyanins in purple carrots).
Raw carrots are not recommended for preschool-aged children (those 4 years old and under) because of the possibility of choking. Cooked or smashed carrots are fine.