Health Matters: Health benefits of Montana grown foods

Kim Lloyd

The Montana Harvest of the Month Program showcases Montana grown foods in Montana communities. Each month, participating sites focus on promoting one locally grown item such as lentils, beets, bison, or cherries. July’s feature is Montana-grown carrots. Carrots originated in central Asia over a thousand years ago. The original carrots were purple to black in color and much woodier in texture. Europeans started enjoying carrots as a staple food in the 13th century. Today, carrots come in many colors including purple, black, yellow, orange, red and white and also range in size from a round, 2-inch carrot to a slender, 3-foot carrot!

The average person eats 17 pounds of carrots per year. Carrots are well known for containing high amounts of antioxidant beta-carotene which is a form of vitamin A. Beta-carotene is important for eyesight, healthy skin and growing bodies. It may also help reduce chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Beta-carotene was first discovered in carrots, therefore its name came from carrots. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium, and like most vegetables, a source

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