Carrot Nature’s Wonder Root
Gajar ka halwa is the most famous and sought-after dish in winters. One cannot resist the temptation of buying those fresh, orange-coloured roots that dominate the vegetable markets during the winter months. One should select firm, straight and bright-coloured roots while purchasing. The deeper the orange colour, the more beta-carotene is present in the carrot. If stored properly in a refrigerator they remain fresh for about two weeks. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A. Inclusion of it in the diet can improve eye-sight, restore poor vision including night vision. Carrots are a good source of vitamins and minerals. The nutrients include carbohydrates, sugar fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids etc. They are more nutritious when cooked, than eaten raw (juice is an exception).
A study showed that cooking carrots increases their level of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which plays an important role in vision, reproduction, bone growth and regulating the immune system.
Here are some of the health benefits to make sure you gulp down at least one glass of carrot juice a day.
- Carrots are excellent for the eyes.
- Carrots contain large quantities of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene.
- Juicing a carrot removes the indigestible fiber. Thus, the nutrients in it are available to the body in much larger quantities than if the carrot was eaten whole. If you eat a carrot raw, you only get access to about 1 per cent of the available beta-carotene, but, when you have a glass of carrot juice, your system absorbs almost 100 per cent or the beta-carotene!
- Carrot juice has anti-carcinogen properties, which help in preventing cancer.
- Beta-carotene present in carrots prevents cell degeneration and anti-oxidants present in it slow down the ageing process.
- Carrots are also good for the skin. They protect as well as nourish the skin. They can improve the appearance of skin, hair and nails. They contain a form of calcium, which is easily absorbed by the body.
- Carrot juice is like a tonic. It will improve the overall health and improves immunity. It has been proved that boiling and steaming better preserves anti-oxidants, particularly carotenoids in carrots, than frying (though boiling was deemed the best).
- Just scrub them well to get rid of the dirt. Since carrots are grown underground, peeling won’t necessarily prevent from consuming the pesticides as the chemicals get into the soil and can seep into the vegetable. It keeps lungs and intestinal track in order.
- They promote colon health as they are rich in fiber.
- Vitamin E present in carrot promotes the efficiency of muscular system by effective utilisation of oxygen.
- Carrots reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, fights anemia, bronchitis and other infections.
- Carrot even heals minor wounds and injuries.
- Carrots are used in herbal medicine to treat intestinal parasites, diarrhea, different digestive problems etc. Carrot juice is an effective detoxifier of the body.
- A health drink for heart can be prepared by carrots and apples. Extract juice from one kg apples and one kg carrot and ½ kg sugar candy and boil till it comes to thick consistency. Let it cool and store in a bottle. Take 2 tablespoons of this juice in a glass of water daily. This will help reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Carrots can be enjoyed in a variety of ways as vegetable, as salads, it can be pickled, juiced and added in soups and different variety of rice preparations. Take care not to over cook carrots to ensure that they retain their maximum flavour and nutritional value.
Carrots truly are Nature’s wonder root. Make sure to add carrot in your diet and enjoy its benefits.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna