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All about “Carrot”

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Nutritional value of carrot

  Raw carrot
18 cm to 22 cm / 72 g
Drained boiled carrot,
½ cup (125 mL) / 80 g slices
Canned carrot juice ½ cup (125 ml) / 125 g
Calories 30 29 49
Protein 0.7 g 0.6g 1.2g
Carbohydrates 6.9 g 6.8g 11.6g
Fat 0.2g 0.2g 0.2g
Dietary fiber 1.8g 2.2g 1.0 g
Glycemic load  : Low
Antioxidant power  : Moderate

Sources  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2010.



Carrot: understand everything in 2 min

Carrot health profile

   

The dark color of the carrot comes from its many pigments . They would help prevent several diseases, including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers .

 

The benefits of carrot

  • Cardiovascular diseases . Two animal studies have shown that the consumption of carrots acts on certain factors promoting cardiovascular health. Consuming carrots (or juice, but to a lesser extent , 4 ) would improve the antioxidant capacity and the level of vitamin E in the blood, in addition to lowering cholesterol and triglycerides of the liver , 2 and in the blood 2 .
  • Cancer . The consumption of carrots would have protective effects against lung cancer 6 . A study of more than 120,000 women concluded that those who consumed 2 to 4 servings of carrots per week were 40% less likely to suffer from lung cancer compared to those who did not consume 5 . With a consumption of 5 or more servings, the risk reduction was 60%. Furthermore, an observational study found that people who consumed 2 or more servings of carrots or spinach per week were 44% less likely to have breast cancer than those who did not. 7 .
  • Cataracts . Two observational studies have found a decrease in the prevalence of cataracts in men and women with more alpha and beta carotene in the blood 9 . The same results have been observed in those who consume the most lutein and zeaxanthin 10 , 11 . All of these compounds are present in the carrot.

What does the carrot contain?

To better assimilate the carotenoids of carrots
 Take them with a source of fat , for example, a little oil, nuts or cheese. Why? Because carotenoids are fat- soluble compounds ( fat- soluble).
– Cook them. Cooking also seems to increase their absorption 21 , 22 .

Carotenoids
The main carotenoids found in carrots (raw, cooked or in juice) are beta-carotene , lutein and zeaxanthin . Carotenoids are compounds with, among other things, antioxidant properties, that is, they are able to neutralize free radicals in the body. The consumption of foods rich in carotenoids is linked to a lower risk of suffering from several diseases, such as cancer 24 , cardiovascular diseases 25 , 26and certain diseases linked to aging, for example cataracts. Several carotenoids are also precursors of vitamin A, that is to say that the body transforms them into vitamin A according to its needs.

The carotenoids have a protective effect against cancer because the foods that contain decrease oxidative damage to DNA 8 . When DNA is damaged, there may be an increased risk of cancer. People with cystic fibrosis have also been shown to have lower levels of carotenoids in the blood than normal limits 14 , 15 . Some studies have found that taking beta-carotene supplements in patients with cystic fibrosis improves their plasma antioxidant capacity 16-18 . To date, however, no study has evaluated the effects of eating carrots. on the carotenoid levels of affected people.


Fibers
Some authors have suggested that the simultaneous intake of fiber and carotenoids , both present in the carrot, would maximize the protective effect of this vegetable 2 . Indeed, it has been shown that certain types of fiber, in particular soluble fibers, can reduce cholesterol and prevent the process of atherosclerosis in animals as well as in humans 27 . During the study, carrot juice (which contains little fiber) had less effect on blood lipids, compared to the consumption of carrots. The synergistic effect between the 2 compounds could partly explain this phenomenon.

Main vitamins and minerals

Excellent source Vitamin A The carrot (raw or cooked) and carrot juice are of excellent sources of vitamin A.
Good source Vitamin B6 Carrot juice is a good source of vitamin B6. Raw or cooked carrots are one source .
Good source Vitamin K Carrot juice is a good source of vitamin K.
Source Vitamin B1 (thiamine) Carrot juice is a source of vitamin B1 .
Source Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Carrot juice is a source of vitamin B2 .
Source Vitamin B3 Raw carrots are a source of vitamin B3.
Source Vitamin C Raw carrots are a source of vitamin C.
Source Vitamin E Cooked carrots and carrot juice are sources of vitamin E.
Source Iron Carrot juice is a source of iron.
Source Phosphorus Carrot juice is a source of phosphorus .
Source Potassium Carrot juice is a source of potassium.

 

 

The more colorful they are, the better!

The brown carrots contain 2 times more beta carotene than carrots orange, while the yolks contain very little and white, not at all.



The brown carrot gives the impression of being sweeter than the orange carrot whose taste is masked due to its volatile compounds. However, the amount of total carbohydrates in these carrots does not differ significantly from one variety of carrot to another.

The white carrots contain very little vitamin C , unlike the orange or brown carrots, which contain at most 20 .

Precautions

Carrot is a food implicated in oral allergy syndrome . This syndrome is an allergic reaction to certain proteins from a range of fruits, vegetables and nuts. It affects some people with allergies to environmental pollens and is characterized by mouth and throat symptoms . This syndrome is almost always preceded by hay fever . So when some people allergic to ragweed eat raw carrot(cooking usually degrades allergenic proteins), an immunological reaction may occur. These people suffer from itching and a burning sensation in the mouth, lips and throat. Symptoms may appear and then disappear, usually within minutes of eating or handling the offending food. In the absence of other symptoms, this reaction is not serious and consumption of carrots need not be systematically avoided. However, it is recommended that you consult an allergist to determine the cause of reactions to plant foods. The latter will be able to assess whether special precautions should be taken.

Can carotenoids in supplements be pro-oxidant?
Scientific literature suggests that carotenoids (beta-carotene and lycopene) taken in supplements at very high doses lose their antioxidant capacity and may even become pro-oxidants 19 . They could then be involved in the appearance of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases. It would therefore be better to look for carotenoids in food rather than in the form of supplements in order to make the most of their benefits.

Recipe ideas

Carrots glazed with marjoram and cumin

  • Grated in a salad, serve the carrots alone or with their traditional companions, grapes and nuts.
  • Steamed or smothered and seasoned with butter.
  • Glazed in a mixture of broth, sugar or honey and butter.
  • In mashed . Alone, or with turnip, potatoes or other root vegetables.
with carrots
  • In soup , in soup or in consume . Cook baby carrots in a vegetable or chicken broth with an onion added. Go to the blender. Give it a creamier texture by adding plain yogurt – which also tempers the sweet taste of the carrot. Or give it an exotic twist with a hint of curry or ginger, lemon zest, or a little orange juice.
  • Roasted in the oven , after being cut into sticks, brushed with olive oil and seasoned with thyme and a little sage.
  • Cooked and prepared in the Roman style  : with a sauce made up of cumin, salt, oil and old wine.
The carrot, an instant appetite suppressant
People who are dieting can try to deceive a temporary hunger by crunching 1 or 2 carrots. It’s also a good way to get rid of your rage when you’ve just quit smoking.
  • In juice , alone or mixed with other vegetables or fruits and condiments:
    – three or four carrots with a few mint leaves, in summer;
    – two carrots, a tomato, a celery stalk, in the fall;
    – two carrots and a pressed orange in winter.
    As the juice retains on average only 10% of the precious fibers of the carrot, we will keep the cakes (the pulp) to add it in the preparations of cakes, cookies, pudding or muffins.
  • In sorbet , ice cream or granita.
  • The tops (leaves and stems) can also be eaten. Add the freshest ones to salads and the others to vegetable broths. In Quebec, they are part of the famous salted herbs of the Bas-du-Fleuve.

The little story of the carrot

Common name: carrot.
Scientific name: Daucus carota var . sativus .                                                    
Family: apiaceae (old name: umbelliferae).

Appearing in the French language in 1564, the term ”  carrot  ” comes from the Latin carota which was borrowed from the Greek karôton . Until recently, the term “umbelliferae” designated the family of which the carrot is a part. It comes from the Latin umbella (parasol) and ferre (to carry), in reference to the shape of the flowers which resemble small umbrellas. The new name for this family is today ”  apiacées  “.

Given its current importance in Western food, it is hard to imagine that, until recently, the carrot was consumed only marginally. The ancient Greeks mentioned it in their works. But, as its primitive form was rather bitter and fibrous , we were mainly interested in its many medicinal properties .

Carrot myth
Given its high glycemic index, you should avoid cooked carrot if you want to lose weight .
Reality. Although the glycemic index of cooked carrots is high, their glycemic load is rather low because the amount of carbohydrates in a normal portion is moderate. Eating it, raw or cooked, therefore does not constitute an obstacle to weight loss. In addition, its nutritional benefits are too great to be denied. Note that the raw carrot is sweeter than the cooked carrot.

The plant would have been discovered 5000 years ago in what is today Afghanistan. Wild colonies, with red or brown roots, still abound there. Then began a long journey across the centuries that will take the carrot , according to the human exploration, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe, where it is grown from the XVIII th  century. At that time, varieties with white, yellow, red, green, brown and black flesh or skin were known, but no orange carrots. Note that in Canada all wild carrots are white root.

In fact, the orange carrot is the product of human intervention. These are the Dutch, who, eager to show their loyalty to the House of Orange, a Protestant principality of France, will cross the XVI th  century varieties with red flesh and white flesh and eventually get a root of a beautiful bright orange .

This newcomer will soon supplant all the others. Breeders will focus exclusively on it to create the many modern varieties, with a round or conical root, and more or less wide and long depending on the uses you want to make of it. It still dominates the market, although we are starting to find brown carrots in supermarkets.




However, it is on the side of amateur gardeners and a few specialized producers that we find the widest assortment of colors . These are old varieties, whose flavor is sometimes exceptional, sweet as desired with, occasionally, a touch of bitterness.

In North America, despite an appearance around 1620, the carrot did not take its place in human food until the end of the First World War. Before that, it was mainly used as food for livestock and as a treat for horses. The discovery of carotene and its benefits, by researchers, in 1910, certainly contributed to popularize it.

The carrot is cultivated almost everywhere on the planet, except in tropical regions whose climate does not suit its placid temperament 24 .

Organic gardening

The carrot likes in fresh and light soils, deeply loosened and preferably fertilized the previous year or, if it is the same year, with well decomposed manure or vegetable compost.

It prefers a pH of 6.5 to 7.8, but will be content with more acidic soils. The ideal temperature for its cultivation is between 16 ° C and 21 ° C. We can make a first crop early in the spring , by choosing an early variety that will reach maturity before the heat of summer (at the same time as the peas). For a later crop, we will sow in June or July, which will allow us to build up reserves for the winter.

Carrot fly

In the family vegetable garden , you have to fear the carrot fly, which deposits its eggs at the foot of the plants. These eggs turn into larvae which tunnel through the roots and feed on their flesh. If the infestation is severe, the roots will be so dug that, when put in water, they will float.

To counter the problem in a natural way, there are various solutions:

  • Cover the carrots with a light agrotextile fabric allowing light to pass through (85%) during plant growth. During hot weather, the fabric can be removed for short periods, but it must be replaced as soon as the weather has cooled.
  • The carrot fly being attracted by the smell of wrinkled foliage , avoid leaving the seedlings that have been thinned near the flower bed.
  • Sow carrots in a windy place  : the fly has a hard time fighting strong winds.
  • Try the companionship with the onions , knowing however that it will only be effective if you sow 4 rows of onions for 1 row of carrots.
  • The leaves of very fragrant plants – tansy, wormwood – deposited at the base of the plants could deceive the fly by modifying the ambient odor, but they must be replaced as soon as they have lost their odoriferous power.
  • weekly watering with lessis (wood ash diluted in water) is very effective against unwanted insects. In addition, the ashes are rich in potassium, a mineral that the carrot particularly appreciates.

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