Carrots are natures winter treats. They are crunchy, sweet, tasty and versatile for cooking. In winters the first dishes that come to mind are carrot halwa and achar both of which can be found across most North Indian households. Carrots are mostly seen as a salad veggie and not thought to be as versatile as say, cauliflower and broccoli. Carrots are also used as a baby weaning food as they are easily digested. But the truth is that the crunchy vegetable can be used in a variety of innovative dishes, provided you are willing to explore.
Carrots are believed to have originated in Persia. Carrots belong to the family of root vegetables and even though we commonly see and use only red and orange carrots they are available in black, purple, yellow and white colours too.
Nutritionally, carrots are great and probably the most popular nutrient found in the veggie is beta-carotene. Additionally, they also provide Vitamin C, Folates and Vitamin K1. They also are loaded with antioxidants all of which together make them a superfood!
(Also Read: Are Raw Carrots More Nutritious Than Cooked Carrots?)
|Beta Carotene µg||5423||2706|
|Vitamin C mg||6.22||6.76|
Health Benefits Of Carrots:
• Good For Diabetics
Carbs in carrots are basically starch and sugars like sucrose and glucose. The Glycaemic index of raw carrots is the lowest and it increases on cooking with pureed carrots having the highest GI. They also provide a good quantity of fibre. Low GI foods which provide fibre are a good inclusion for diabetics in their diets contrary to the common belief that carrots are bad for them.
(Also Read: 5 Delicious Carrot Desserts You Must Try This Winter)
• Good For Weight Management:
Low calorie and low-fat vegetables are a boon for weight management. Carrot can be consumed in larger quantities and help satiety without calorie overload. It can be blended, converted to a soup or used as a snack with 10 gms of peanut butter as a dip.
• Rich Source of Vitamin A
Beta carotene present in Carrots are converted to Vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is essential for us to grow, reproduce and have a sturdy immune system. Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness and loss of vision. Beta carotene along with the alpha-carotene present in carrots act as potent antioxidants in our body. We all know that antioxidants are crucial for decreasing the risk of many diseases including heart and cancers. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for our skin too
• Rich Antioxidant Profile
Carrots include lutein which is abundant in yellow and orange carrots is the secret sauce for good eyesight. Lycopene colures the food red. It is present in red and purple carrots and is associated with protection against the risk of cancers and heart ailments. They also have polyacetylenes which recent research has identified to be protective against blood cancer.
Anthocyanins present in dark coloured carrots are also very potent antioxidants.
• Good For Blood
Carrots have never been considered as a food that helps lower cholesterol, but recent research has pointed to the beneficial effects of eating carrots and the lowering of cholesterol by preventing cholesterol absorption from food, increasing the excretion of bile acids.
So the next time you see carrots, pick up a bunch and don't think of them as just another boring winter vegetable. The amazing health benefits they bring to your plate should dispel any reservations you may have about them. And don't forget to make your kanji in coming months with purple carrots.
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About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.