Health benefits of carrots
As an integral part of green salad, carrot adds beautiful orange yellow, red or purple colour to it among greens. Modern buffets have taken carrot to a new level with its easy carving into various shapes. Then when it comes to winters the sight of carrots make you to walk towards to nearest sweetmeat shop for savouring the most popular Indian sweet namely carrot halwa made out of carrots, khoya, ghee and sugar. Carrots make good stuffing companion to many Indian and Continental cookings. Another most notable thing about carrots is that it is a 365 day vegetable because of its availability throughout the year. The city of Holtville, California state, USA has proclaimed itself as carrot headquarters of the world. It would be music to your ears to hear that the latest research information has shown that Carrots help in reducing Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVD) and Colon cancers.
Carrot Nutrition details
Beta carotene is responsible for the orange colour of carrots. Beta carotene transforms itself into Vitamin A in human beings after metabolic changes. Carrots are rich in minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. One serving cup of diced carrots (about 130 gms) carries just about 50 calories and about 14% fiber, 4% sodium, 4% calcium, 2% iron and 4% total carbohydrates of daily value requirement. Vitamin A is about 400%, vitamin C contributes to about 13% of daily value. There are over 80 varieties of micro nutrients present in the carrots and counted as a grade A vegetable in the world rating of foods. Carrots are called poor man’s Ginseng because of its wide range of phytochemical content.
Health benefits of Carrots
People suffering from loss of night vision due to lack vitamin A can get their vision restored by consuming carrots.
- Carrots are very useful in treating digestive disorders especially due its digestive tract friendly dietary fiber.
- Carrots are good in controlling constipation again due to its good dietary fiber. It is equally good in controlling diarrhea, peptic ulcers, gastritis, upset stomach, Crohn’s disease
- The tonsillitis condition can be improved with the consumption of carrot juice every day.
- Carrots have proven to drive away parasites in the intestines.
- The carrot oil is very useful and suitable for controlling dry or chapped skin condition. You can mix 2 teaspoons of carrier base oil such as almond oil with four drops carrot oil and apply over the skin for long lasting relief.
- Carrots have shown good “anti-inflammatory and anti-aggregatory” properties. Regular use of carrots prevents clustering of red blood cells thus helping in the reduction of cardiovascular diseases.
- It is now a proven fact that carrots help combating colon cancer. Consume one and half cup of carrot juice every day to keep colon cancer at bay. Also breast cancer can be kept away with daily consumption of carrots.
- Other health benefits as propounded by naturopaths and other alternative medicine believers include control of flatulence, relieving and promoting release of urine, retention of water by the body, smooth menstrual blood flow, helping milk secretion in lactating mothers.
Also read: Benefits of Carrot Juice
Although tempting, carrots should be used in moderation. Excessive consumption is known to cause orange skin condition that is benign known as caretonosis. People with diabetes should avoid regular use of carrots. Eating carrots can be addictive and self control is essential. Some European studies have noted Carrot allergic reactions in individuals due to “cross sensitivity” with some spices, birch pollen and mugwort.
Selection and Storage
Firm, round, long, straight and smooth are the important characteristics besides colour to choose good carrots. Avoid carrots with green top else chop the green portion off before use. Also avoid cracked carrots when picking. Under proper refrigerated conditions and right humidity, carrots have shown to retain beta carotene for long time and give you the much needed flexibility in their purchase and consumption.
Different Carrot Varieties
You would be surprised to know that there are eastern and western varieties of carrots according to cultivation habits and other natural characteristics. The eastern variety is yellow and purple in colour. The purple colour comes from the presence of a pigment namely anthocyanin. Western carrots are more orange in colour. Chantenay variety is shorter with broader development and diced and canned for long term use. The Danvers variety is conical and well defined shape and most often it is used in puree form.
Carrots need good sun light for their healthy growth. Always good shaped carrots attract attention and to achieve this sow them in loose soil free from stones and other hard substances. Seeds should be sown about 2cm deep. Carrot crop matures in about four to five months and the best times for cultivation are February to July.
Some interesting notes
- Carrots are the natural source of food colours along the side saffron, turmeric and cocoa.
- During World War II British Air Force spread a myth about carrots, that by making their soldiers eat carrots they are able see and hit Nazi aircrafts in the night.
- The energy equivalent of one pound of carrots is equivalent to lifting 64 tons of weight by one foot!!
There are many interesting recipes of carrot starting from raw usage to exotic preparations. Carrot is relished in any of its form by people all over the world.