29th April 2001
Sports| Mirror Magazine
By Chris FernandoCarrots belong to a family of vegetables that has about 2500 members including the common parsley. There are also various types of carrots.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is believed to help prevent the onset of cancer. The body converts this beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Carrot is one of the best sources for this vitamin. It also contains calcium, potassium and other trace elements.
How to buy carrotsYou must always look for firm, smooth carrots that have no cracks, bruises, soft spots or knobs. Avoid the flabby ones and those with damaged or decaying stems. A deep orange colour indicates that the carrot is sweet. Those with green areas on the crown are sun burnt, but this does not in any way affect their quality.
Ideal consumptionOne pound of carrots serves three to four people and is equivalent to three cups of grated carrot. You can eat it as often as you like, either raw or cooked. It is ideal if you can eat carrots at least three times a week. You can also eat it any time of the day, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
How to use carrots*You can eat it raw in the form of sticks or shredded. This is excellent as a snack or in salads and appetisers.
*Carrots can also be cooked. When shredded, the vegetable will cook in five minutes, when sliced, it takes ten minutes and the whole carrot will take 15 - 20 minutes to cook.
*Carrots add sweetness and flavour to soups and stews.
*It is better to steam rather than boil if you want to retain its nutrients.
*Carrots can also be juiced into a beverage.
*Carrots should never be peeled, because most of the nutrients are in the peels. In order to clean, you must simply scrub off any dirt with a vegetable brush, remove ends and rootlets and wash well.
How to store carrotsRaw carrots should be refrigerated in tightly sealed plastic bags. Long term storage and exposure to ultra violet light can destroy carotenoids.
Why you should eat carrots...*Research has linked low beta-carotene levels in the blood to increased risk of some cancers. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy vision as well as for the maintenance of the mucous membranes.
*Just one carrot a day is enough to improve night blindness, the inability to adjust to dim lighting or darkness.
*Pureed carrots are good for babies with diarrhoea as they provide essential nutrients and natural sugars.
Health hazards due to over-consumption
*Don't drink too much carrot juice. Your skin may turn orange.
Who shouldn't eat them?
Patients with renal failure whose potassium levels are high should avoid eating carrots.
Maintaining the vitamin levels in your body
Many nutrients work together to maintain good health. Vitamin A needs
B complex, C, D, E and minerals to be fully functional in the body. Substances
that limit the availability to the body include coffee, alcohol, laxatives
and an excess of iron.
Nutritive value of carrotsCarrot (1cup) Raw (grated) Cooked (from raw) Cooked (from frozen)
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