story to find out more.
have selectively bred carrots with pigments that reflect almost all colors of
the rainbow. More importantly, though, they're very good for your health.
Click the image for more information about it.
New Carrots Offer Colorful Surprises--and Health
Benefits By Erin
Peabody November 15, 2004
Researchers with the Agricultural
Research Service may have found the best way to entice consumers to eat
their veggies: Surprise them. They're breeding carrots that come in a palette
of totally unexpected colors including yellow, dark orange, bright red--even
With their flashy colors, these conventionally-bred carrots could
dress up any dull meal. But what's getting scientists' attention is finding
that the bright veggies are full of pigments with impressive health-promoting
Xanthophylls give the yellow carrots their golden hues and have been
linked with good eye health. Red carrots contain lycopene, a type of carotene
also found in tomatoes that's believed to guard against heart disease and some
Purple carrots owe their color to anthocyanins. In a class all by
themselves, these pigments are considered to be powerful antioxidants that can
guard the body's fragile cells from the destructive effects of unstable
molecules known as free radicals.
Simon--the carrots' breeder who works at the ARS
Crops Research Unit in Madison, Wis.--was unsure if these complex
vegetables could provide nutrients in a form that the human body can use.
But in studies with nutritionist Sherry Tanumihardjo from the
University of Wisconsin in Madison, Simon
found that yellow carrots' lutein was 65 percent as bioavailable as it is from
a lutein supplement. The two also discovered that lycopene from red-pigmented
carrots is 40 percent as bioavailable as it is from tomato paste.
And for consumers who don't like tomatoes, having another food source
of lycopene would be good news.
Despite their nutritional and culinary appeal, Simon's carrots haven't
yet caught on in growers' circles. But that could change as consumers create a
demand for these strange, but good-for-you veggies.
about the carrots in the November issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. This
research was funded in part by the
for Future Agriculture and Food Systems, a program of USDA's
Cooperative State Research, Education and