Naturally sweet, delicious and crunchy, carrots
are healthy additions you can make to the vegetable list in your diet.
Indeed, these root vegetables come with wholesome health benefiting
compounds such as beta-carotenes, vitamin A, minerals and anti-oxidants
in ample amounts.
Botanically these taproots
belong to the Apiaceae
family of the genus;
Daucus and known scientifically as Daucus carota.
other close Apiaceae members include parsnips,
dill, cumin, etc.
carota, European type.
Note for bright orange color and
|Note for different colors!
Photo courtesy: wordridden
plant is cultivated across the world for its prized
plant is biennial and bears flowers during second year of life.
However, in general, the whole plant is harvested prematurely when the
root reaches about an inch in diameter, tender and
|Asian (oriental) variety.
for Saffron red
color and tail like
tapering lower ends.
Carrots vary widely in color and shape depending
on the cultivar types. Generally, oriental taproots are long, flat
upper ends with tapering, tail like, lower ends. They are winter season
crops in many parts of Asia. European carrots, on the other hand, have
more rounded ends with almost cylindrical body. In addition,
European-variety feature bright orange color in contrast to saffron
colored Asian cultivars.
benefits of carrots
Sweet and succulent carrots
notably rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary
fiber; however, they provide only 41 calories per 100 g,
negligible amount of fat and no cholesterol.
They are exceptionally rich
source of carotenes and
100 g fresh carrot contains 8285 µg of beta-carotene
and 16706 IU of
vitamin A. Studies have found that flavonoid compounds in carrots help
protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.
Carotenes are converted into vitamin A in the
liver. Beta-carotene is the major carotene that is
present in these roots. Beta carotene is one of the powerful natural
anti-oxidant helps protect body from harmful oxygen-free radical
injury. In addition, it also has all the functions of vitamin
A such as vision, reproduction (sperm production), maintenance of
epithelial integrity, growth and development.
Carrots are rich in poly-acetylene antioxidant
Research study conducted by scientists at University of Newcastle on
laboratory animals has found that falcarinol
in carrots may help fight
against cancers by destroying pre-cancerous cells in the tumors.
Fresh roots are also good
in vitamin C; provide about 9% of RDA. Vitamin
C is water soluble anti-oxidant.
It helps the body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth and gum.
anti-oxidant property helps the body protect from diseases and cancers
scavenging harmful free radicals.
In addition, this root vegetable is
especially rich in many B-complex groups of vitamins
such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic
etc., that acts
co-factors to enzymes during substrate metabolism in the body.
Further, They also compose healthy levels
minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and
important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling
heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.
Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant
See the table below for in depth analysis
carota), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition value per 100 g.
Total-ORAC value 666 umol TE/100 g.
(Source: USDA National
Nutrient data base)
Selection and storage
|Fresh carrots and green bell peppers in a
are available in the markets around the season. While buying, look for
young, tender, bright-colored roots with firm consistency. Avoid soft,
flabby roots, with cuts or mold. Furthermore, avoid very large-sized
roots as they indicate over maturity; resulting in their poor eating
light exposure of the root aboveground level would result in greenish
discoloration near the top end due to chlorophyll photo-pigment
deposition. Although this may not affect health badly, however, it
depletes sweet taste of the roots. Forking or twisted carrots may be
the indication of either disease infestation or close crop cultivation.
at home, wash them thoroughly in water to remove dust, soil, or
insecticide/fungicides. Generally, the top greens are trimmed from the
root and stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator where
they keep well for 1-2 weeks. Set refrigerator temperature
degree F and high
to maintain vitality.
thoroughly before use.
Trim both ends; gently scrape off outer skin and smaller hairy roots.
The younger roots have crispy, pleasant taste, and rich flavor. Raw
carrots are naturally sweet and juicy; however, boiling them in water
for few minutes enriches their flavor and enhances the bioavailability
Here are some serving tips:
Fresh carrots can be enjoyed as they are, or
can be used raw in
vegetable as well as fruit salads.
- Slices mixed with other
root vegetables like
radish, beets, tomato,
or with greens in
- Carrot juice is a
refreshing drink, enjoyed
either alone or with fruit juice.
- Carrots blend well with
vegetables like green
beans, potato, peas in variety of
stewed, in curry, stir fries, etc.
- In South Asia, delicious
sweet dish, "gaajar ka halwa," is prepared using grated carrot, almonds, cashews,
butter, sugar, and milk.
- The root is also used in
the preparation of
cakes, tart, pudding, soups, borscht, etc.
- They are also used in the
preparation of healthy baby-foods.
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