A lot of people feed carrots to their dogs. The wild carrot, queen Anne’s Lace, has an edible root but it is thin and stringy. We can still find and harvest it in many areas, including mine. By the 1300s much bigger purple carrots were cultivated in Europe, then white and yellow mutants were grown. 400 years ago, to honor the Netherlands House of Orange, two growers crossed a yellow and red. The resulting orange carrot caught on and became the most poplar variety. However, they are much less nutritious.
Purple/yellow carrots have 40 phenolics compared to 4 of orange, red and white. Even the orange does have health benefits, such as beta carotene, high fiber, low in calories and fat.
What can you do to maximize health benefits of carrots for yourself and your pets?
- Feed/eat the skins. Avoid the pre scraped and washed carrots
- Buy ones with green tops attached as they are fresher and you can puree the greens into the dog’s vegemix and make soup for yourself.
- Avoid frozen carrots as they have been skinned.
- Carrots are better for you (and pets) when cooked – breaks down cell walls to release more nutrients. However, do not boil – roast, steam or saute them with some fat, which increases nutrients.
- Look for purple carrots especially if you garden.
Of course, if what is available is orange – feed them. And if your dog loves to chew on whole raw carrots – definitely do that. When thinking of nutrition, follow the above steps.