If you’ve always binned carrot stalks in the past, it’s time to change that. With an increasing emphasis on sustainability, foods that were until recently considered inedible, are now being given a second life. Like mustard greens and celery leaves, carrot leaves are now being utilized as well. Apart from reducing waste, carrot leaves are also extremely nutrient-dense. Here are 5 reasons why you should start eating carrot leaves.
1. They’re Rich In Chlorophyll
It’s not just plants which need chlorophyll, it’s just as beneficial for humans too. The composition of chlorophyll is very similar to our blood. Eating more of it can purify your blood by getting rid of harmful toxins within it. Chlorophyll is also a powerful natural antioxidant, which can protect you from cancer. Another way chlorophyll can fight cancer is because of its purifying properties. It removes dangerous carcinogens from our body, before they can cause cell mutation. Many people take chlorophyll supplements, but why take a pill when you can get it right at the source?
2. They Purify Your Kidneys
Not drinking enough water or holding your pee can put a strain on your kidneys. Carrot leaves can counter this damage by filtering out impurities. Because they’re so bitter, they have natural, diuretic and purifying properties. This stimulates the kidneys to increase urine output and carry toxins out of the body. Consumption of carrot leaves can also prevent the formation of kidney stones and in some cases, dissolve them after they’re formed.
3. Improve Your Colon Health
Your colon is responsible for carrying waste out of your body, along with toxins present in it. If it isn’t doing its job properly, your health can be in serious danger. One way to keep your colon functioning at its best is to increase your fiber intake. Fiber adds bulk to stools and aids digestion. Carrot leaves are extremely high in fiber, which can keep your colon clean. They also contain chlorophyll which encourages waste removal and detoxifies the colon.
4. Keeps Your Bones Strong
In many ways, carrot leaves are actually more nutritious than carrots themselves. They’re much higher in minerals like potassium, calcium and also vitamins A and K. All of these nutrients are important for strong, healthy bones. As we get older, our bones become more brittle as we start losing bone mass. Eating carrot greens often can give our bones the nutrients it needs to maintain its density. This is especially important for postmenopausal women who have a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
5. Important For Healthy Eyes
While carrots are often credited with keeping your eyes healthy, their leaves are just as beneficial. Carrot leaves have even more vitamin A than the roots do. Vitamin A is extremely important for good vision and healthy eye muscles. They prevent macular degeneration and cataract formation.
How To Use Carrot Leaves
Because carrot leaves are widely used, many people are unsure about just how to eat them. The leaves are quite strong taste and can be very bitter. This is why although you can eat them raw, they taste a whole lot better cooked. Here are four ways to use carrot leaves instead of throwing them out.
1. Blanche Them
Blanching keeps the crunchy texture of carrot leaves, while removing their bitterness. To blanch carrot leaves, add them to a pot of boiling water and cook for a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook them as you don’t want them to be soft. Then remove from the hot water and submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process. You can dry them and add these leaves to stir fries or salads.
2. In A Soup
Soups are great way to utilize kitchen scraps. Add carrot leaves to the stock of any soup for more nutrition. You won’t lose any nutrients by overcooking because they will seep into the stock. The bitterness will also be masked by the other flavors and seasonings in the soup.
3. Saute Them
Carrot leaves make for a great vegetarian side and are very simple to make. Add onions, garlic, ginger and any spices you want along with fresh carrot leaves. Saute until cooked and serve along with the rest of your meal.
4. In A Smoothie
If you’re concerned about some of the nutrients getting lost in the cooking process, then you can eat carrot leaves raw. But munching on them plain isn’t really the most appetizing thing in the world. If you’re big on smoothies, simply add a bunch of carrot leaves to your regular recipe. This will add more nutrition and the bitterness will be countered by your other ingredients.