The Carrot is a root vegetable, typically orange in color, though purple, black, red, white, and yellow cultivars exist, all of which are domesticated forms of the wild carrot, Daucus carota, native to Europe and South-Western Asia. Carrots are the richest source of beta-carotene. The human body turns beta-carotene into vitamin A. The name “carrot” comes from the French word “carotte.” Carrots originated in the Mediterranean. Originally, carrots were only used for medicinal purposes rather than as food. Ancient Greeks used carrots to treat stomach aches.
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Around the first century, Greek doctors used carrots as a stomach tonic. They were used as food during the 13th century in Europe. The vegetable is great for eyesight and your skin. It also boosts the immune system. Cooked carrots are better for you than raw. The fibre in carrots can help keep blood sugar levels under control. And they’re loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, which, as evidence suggests, can lower your diabetes risk. They can strengthen your bones. Carrots have calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health.
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Here are a few health benefits of Carrots:
1. Pectin is the main form of soluble fibre in carrots. Soluble fibres can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down your digestion of sugar and starch. They can also feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which may lead to improved health and decreased risk of disease.
2. Carrots are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially biotin, potassium, and vitamins A (from beta carotene), K1 (phyllo Quinone), and B6.
Vitamin A: Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A. This nutrient promotes good vision and is important for growth, development, and immune function. Carrots offer many plant compounds, including carotenoids.
These are substances with powerful antioxidant activity that have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, various degenerative ailments, and certain types of cancer. Beta carotene, the main carotene in carrots, can be converted into vitamin A in your body. However, this conversion process may vary by individual. Eating fat with carrots can help you absorb more of the beta carotene.
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The main plant compounds in Carrots are:
- Beta carotene: Orange carrots are very high in beta carotene.
- Alpha-carotene: An antioxidant that, like beta carotene, is partly converted into vitamin A in your body.
- Lutein: One of the most common antioxidants in carrots, lutein is predominantly found in yellow and orange carrots, and is important for eye health.
- Lycopene: A bright red antioxidant found in many red fruits and vegetables, including red and purple carrots, lycopene may decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease.
- Polyacetylenes: Recent research has identified bioactive compounds in carrots that may help protect against leukaemia and other cancer.
- Anthocyanins: These are powerful antioxidants found in dark-coloured carrots.
With the winter season getting to its peak across the country, it’s time to relish our favourite gajar ka halwa- seasons special with winter carrots!
Here are a few of my favourite recipes with a twist using Gajar ka Halwa:
Recipe-1] GAJAR HALWA KA MEETHA
Recipe-2] CARROT HALWA DESSERT TARTS
Recipe-3] CARROT PUDDING DELIGHT
Recipe-4] GAJAR KI VIDESHI MITHAAS
Recipe-5] CARROT ROLLER COASTERS
Recipe-6] BAKED CARROT HALWA JARS
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.