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The top benefits, nutritional values, Uses and storage of Carrot

Carrots are a domesticated form of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. Carrot  probably originated in Persia and was originally cultivated for its leaves and seeds. Carrots vary widely in color and shape depending upon the cultivar types. Oriental taproots are long, featuring a flat top end with tapering, tail-like lower parts. They are winter season crops in many areas of Asia. European carrots, on the other hand, are cylindrical with rounded ends. Also, European varieties feature bright orange color in contrast to saffron colored Asian cultivars.

Carrots have a number of health benefits. They are a weight loss friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

  • Improves vision
    Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Carrots contain vitamin A which reduces the risk of macular degeneration and promotes eye health.
  •  Helps prevent cancer
    Carrots reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer as it contains a variety of dietary carotenoids.
  • Slows down aging
    The high level of beta-carotene in carrots acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
  • Promotes healthier skin
    Vitamin A and antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage. Carrots  prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes and uneven skin tone.
  • Helps prevent infection
    Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts—shredded raw or boiled and mashed.
  • Prevents heart disease
    Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein.
    The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids.
  • Cleanses the body
    Vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out the toxins from the body. Carrots reduces the bile and fat in the liver. The fiber present in carrots helps clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.
  • Protects teeth and gums
    Carrots clean your teeth and mouth. They scrape off plaque and food particles just like toothbrushes or toothpaste. Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
  •  Prevents stroke
    Carrots reduces the risk of stroke.
  • Diabetes control
    The antioxidants and phytochemicals in carrots may help regulate blood sugar and reduces diabetes..
  • Blood pressure
    Carrots contains lots of nutrients which lowers high blood pressure.
  • Immune function
    Carrots contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. This helps boost the immune system and prevent disease. Vitamin C can help reduce the severity of a cold, and the length of time it lasts.
  • Regulate Blood Cholesterol
    Carrots reduces high cholesterol level and reduces the risk of heart diseases.
  • Help in Digestion
    Carrots, like most vegetables, have significant amounts of dietary fiber in their roots. Fiber is one of the most important elements in maintaining good digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to stool, which helps it pass smoothly through the digestive tract, and stimulates peristaltic motion and the secretion of gastric juices. Altogether, this reduces the severity of conditions like constipation and protects your colon and stomach from various serious illnesses, including colorectal cancer. Fiber also boosts heart health by helping to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels.

Carrots can be taken in any time of the day but it is advisable to take it in the morning and in noon. As at that time your body can absorb ample amount of dietary fibers. Carrots complement well with vegetables like green beans, potato, peas in variety of recipes either stewed, in curry, stir fries, etc.

Ways to use Carrot-

  • Carrots are available all year round and can be used in savory dishes, cakes, and juices.
  • They can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, and as an ingredient in many soups and stews.
  • Use shredded carrots in coleslaws, salads, wraps.
  • Snack on carrot sticks or baby carrots as snack or with herbed dips and hummus.
  • Use carrots in juice for a sweet, mild flavor.
  • Fresh carrots can be enjoyed as they are, or can be used raw in vegetable as well as fruit salads.
  • In South Asia, delicious sweet dish, “gajar ka halwa,” is prepared using grated carrot, almonds, cashews, pistachio, butter, sugar, and milk.
  • The root is also used in the preparation of cakes, tart, pudding, soups, borscht, etc.
  • They are also employed in the preparation of healthy baby foods.

How to buy and store carrot

  • Carrots are best stored in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag.
  • There are two seasons a year for carrots, and local carrots are available in the spring and fall.
  • They can be bought fresh, frozen, canned, or pickled.
  • If the greens are still attached to the top of the carrot, remove them before storing to prevent the greens from drawing out moisture and nutrients from the roots.
  • Carrots should be peeled and washed before consuming.
  • Avoid very large-sized roots as they can be an indication of prematurity, resulting in poor eating quality.
  • Avoid twisted or forked carrots as they may be the indication of either root disease.
  • Keep them in the coolest part of your refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel, which should keep them fresh for about two weeks.
  • Avoiding storing them near apples, pears or potatoes, as the ethylene gas they release may turn your carrots bitter.

Uses of carrot

  • Place thin slices of carrot on thin cloth dipped in cold water, and use it as eye pads to reduce stress and burning sensation from eyes.
  •  Carrot halwa when consumed with milk can help underweight children gain weight.
  • Consuming carrot juice mixed with honey improves immunity against chronic diseases.
  • Drinking boiled carrot juice with a pinch of salt provides relief to bowels and loose motion.
  • Carrot fine paste for skin glow:
    Fresh carrots are made into fine paste. Little olive oil is added and applied over face. Left on face for 10 – 30 minutes, then washed off. This gives good glow to the face and takes away wrinkles. This helps to make the skin soft and fair.

Season in which carrot is available

 Carrot is available in the month of december.

How to Make Cinnamon Carrot Muffins

Ingredients
Oven Temp: 325F-160C
3 cups carrots, grated
2 cups (240 gm) all purpose flour
1 cup assorted nuts, chopped
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon (dalchini) powder
2 cups (480 gm) brown sugar or grated jaggery
1 1/2 cup oil (360 ml)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Pastry cups and muffin pans

Method:

Roll nuts in some flour and keep aside.
2. Sift flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.
3. Add to this the brown sugar/jaggery, oil and beaten eggs. Mix well.
4. Mix in the carrots and nuts.
5. Put the batter into the pastry cups (not more than 1/2 full) and bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

How to make carrot poriyal

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon Moong Dal
1 cup finely chopped Carrot
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Urad Dal
1 pinch Asafoetida
1 Dry Red Chilli, halved
5-6 Curry Leaves
1 pinch Turmeric Powder
3 tablespoons grated Fresh Coconut
1 Green Chilli, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Oil or Ghee
Salt to taste

Directions

step-1

Soak moong dal in water for 10-minutes. Drain excess water and keep aside.
step-2
Take grated fresh coconut, chopped green chilies, cumin seeds and 1-tablespoon water in a grinder jar and grind until medium coarse paste.
step-3
Heat oil in a kadai over low flame. Add mustard seeds and allow them to sizzle. Add urad dal and sauté until it turns light brown.
step-4
Add asafoetida, dry red chili and curry leaves.
step-5
Add drained moong dal, turmeric powder and finely chopped carrot; stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
step-6
Add 1/3-cup water and salt to taste.
step-7
Cover it with a lid and cook over low flame until carrot turns soft but not mushy (add few tablespoons more water if required); stir occasionally in between.
step-8
Add ground coconut paste.
step-9
Mix and cook over low flame for a minute. Turn off flame and transfer it to a serving bowl.

Safety Profile for using carrot

  • Overconsumption of vitamin A can be toxic to humans.
  • It may cause a slight orange tinge in skin color, but this not harmful to health.
  • An overdose of vitamin A is unlikely to happen because of diet alone, but it may result from supplement use.
  • People who are taking medications derived from vitamin A, such as isotretinoin (Roaccutane) for acne or acitretin for psoriasis, should avoid eating large amounts of carrots, as they could lead to hypervitaminosis A, an overdose of vitamin A.
  • Contamination
    Carrots grown in contaminated soil or with contaminated water contain larger amounts of heavy metals, which can affect their safety and quality.
  • Allergy

Some people can be allergic to carrots. It can cause swelling if the throat, can cause the mouth to tingle or itch or a severe allergic shock.

Fun facts about carrots

  • Rabbits love to eat carrots, but they shouldn’t eat too many.

A rabbit eating a single carrot is like us eating over 20. Carrots are good for rabbit teeth and don’t have artificial sugar, but even too many natural sugars can cause digestive problems and diabetes. They probably would do better with carrot tops!

  • Carrots are the second most popular type of vegetable after potatoes.
  • The biggest carrot recorded is more than 19 pounds and the longest is over 19 feet!
  • There are more than 100 species of carrots.
    Some are big, some are small, and they come in a variety of colors including: orange, purple, white, yellow and red.
  • English women in the 1600s often wore carrot leaves in their hats in place of flowers or feathers.
  • The name “carrot” comes from the Greek word “karoton.”
  • The beta-carotene that is found in carrots was actually named for the carrot itself.
  • The average American eats about 12 pounds of carrots a year.
  • That’s only one cup per week. We could easily triple that while also eating a variety of other vegetables.
  • Carrots were first grown in Asia, and they were not orange.
  • Carrots contain antioxidants, which may protect against cancer.
  • While they may not help you see in the dark, the vitamin A in carrots helps prevent vision loss.
  • Until the 17th or 18th century when the Dutch bred orange carrots, most carrots were purple, yellow or white.
  • There are hundreds of carrot varieties around the world, and the US is the third-leading producer worldwide (behind China and Russia). In the US, most carrots are grown in California, Washington and Michigan.

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