Rabbit food! That’s pretty much what my dad used to call leafy greens. But rabbits are much more well known for eating carrots.
When I was about 5, I used to have a rabbit, who I named M. Or maybe it was Em, after myself. Wait, do I have an adorable picture of my 5yr old self with an equally adorable rabbit? Why yes! I do! And, unapologetically, here it is:
As cute as that bunny looks, it was actually a wild rabbit from the forest that bordered our property. It escaped countless times from the rather large house we built it, always scratching my mom as she tried to chase it down and bring it back for me. Eventually it just dug its way to freedom, never to be seen again. But oh, the memories I had of my not-so-little, not-so-gentle, kind of wild and cranky bunny. I loved it fiercely.
Ok, back to business. Bunnies love carrots, and as the lore goes, they help you see in the dark. That’s pretty much attributed to the large amounts of beta-carotene they contain, the lack of which is linked to loss of vision. Beta-carotene is one of a group of pigments that include red, yellow and orange and are referred to as carotenoids. We generally receive about half our Vitamin A from carotenoids and they can be found in various fruits, vegetables and grains. Of course, it can also be found in synthetic form.
Once beta-carotene hits your system, it is converted into Vitamin A and is considered an anti-oxidant. Basically, it protects your cells from damage. Some of the benefits it has been linked to are:
• Reducing the risk of breast cancer
• Slowing down the rate of age related high risk macular degeneration
• Preventing sunburn in people who are sun-sensitive
• Helps keep osteoarthritis from getting worse
• Preventative against bronchitis
• Reduces the risk of ovarian cancer in post-menopausal women
• Protective against night-blindness
• Helps keep your skin healthy
• Preventative against asthma attacks
And more! But don’t get too carried away – stick to getting your beta-carotene from food. Over consumption in supplement form has been shown to have the opposite effect, especially in smokers. There are reports that it can actually increase your risk of prostate and lung cancer. So – quit smoking and eat more carrots. You only need one delicious, fresh, crisp carrot to get your entire daily supplement of beta-carotene – but you want to eat a wide range of the yellow, red and orange family to get the benefits of the entire carotenoid family.
Here’s a surprisingly delicious, antioxidant full, vitamin rich juice that is more or less liquid sunshine:
CARROT GINGER JUICE
2 large carrots (the ones that come with the green leaves still attached are generally sweeter tasting)
2 Granny Smith apples
1 large yellow beet
1/2″ fresh ginger
1/4 of a large cucumber
Put everything in the juice and enjoy.
Make about two servings, or one giant one.