Health benefits: Carrots are a storehouse of nutrients | The Financial Express

Health benefits: Carrots are a storehouse of nutrients

The darker varieties of carrots—the red and the black ones—which are available in winters are hugely popular for their health benefits.

Health benefits: Carrots are a storehouse of nutrients
Nutritionists also make a case for winter carrots helping in preventing cancers.

When haze shadows the dawn of the day, the afternoon sun becomes less warm and evenings are accompanied by mild chills, you know that it’s the onset of winter. With changing seasons, our dietary habits and body undergo a change as well. Seasonal vegetables and fruits make their way into the markets. You can now see a variety of carrots and the winter staple gajar ka halwa and kanji come to your mind.

The darker varieties of carrots—the red and the black ones—which are available in winters are hugely popular for their health benefits.

While red carrots taste better than the usual orange carrots as they are sweeter in nature, black carrots have a unique taste and are known for their health benefits. Getting their colour from anthocyanin, a flavonoid high in antioxidants, they are usually found in India, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan. On the other hand, red carrots, which get their colour from lycopene, are grown almost everywhere in the world.  

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Traditionally, Indian cuisine consists of a mix of recipes of seasonal vegetables so as to ensure good nutritional intake in every season. In winters, kanji, a fermented drink that is made from carrots, is quite popular at homes. Several dishes are also made from red carrots such as carrot parathas, carrot barfi, carrot ginger soup, carrot halwa, carrot raita, carrot murabba, carrot payasam, carrot sabzi and so on.

Payal Kothari, gut health nutritionist and founder of INUEN, a health and wellness business school, says that winter carrots (black and red) are a local, simple, chock-full of nutrients, prebiotic root vegetable available in the winters.

“So, they must be consumed in a variety of preparations for maximum nourishment and benefits. It’s important also to understand bio-individuality (whether it suits you or not) when it comes to its consumption,” she says.

Kothari adds that the winter varieties of carrots are also great to feed the gut microbiome —the good bugs in our gut. “They have fibre, polyphenols and taste all packed together and are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, which is great for eyes and heart health. It also detoxes the liver. Black carrots are particularly rich in anthocyanins which help lower the bad cholesterol and its antioxidant activity is higher than the red orange carrots,” she explains.

According to clinical nutritionist Dr Sree Lakshmi of Narayana Multispeciality Hospital in Bengaluru, having carrots daily can also give you the daily dose of lycopene, lutein and betacarotene. Nutritionists also make a case for winter carrots helping in preventing cancers.

Aman Puri, founder of Steadfast Nutrition, a premium sports nutrition brand, says that black carrots may also prevent certain types of cancer and are rich in micro-nutrients such as vitamin C, B, potassium, and manganese. As for red carrots, Puri shares that its lycopene, which is a red-coloured carotenoid, helps fight free radicals and may lower the risk of cancer. “They have a good amount of beta-carotene, a natural anti-oxidant that converts into vitamin A in the body and that keeps our eyes and skin healthy,” he adds.

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First published on: 06-11-2022 at 01:30 IST