The Color of Carrots: A Nutritional Nugget

 

I am starting 2018 with a nugget I just read about in a 14-page supplement called “Spry Living,” published by parade.com, which comes with our newspaper. I chose this one  because it is about multi-colored carrots, and since I recently posted a recipe using these carrots, I decided to work backwards, that is, recent items and then older clippings gathering “crumbs” onmy coffee-table-tuend shelf. (Link to my Colorful Roasted Carrots recipe:http://www.menupause.info/archives/21535).

NOTE: Words in BOLD can be found in the Glossary (www.menupause.info/glossary)

According to Anna Taylor, resistered dietitian, who wrote the blurb in “Spry Living,”carrots are filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber,whatever their color, but each color has a slightly different profile:

  1. Orange Carrots:  These are high in beta carotene, considered a possible antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cancer.
  2. Yellow Carrots: In addition to beta carotene, these carrots have lutein, which many researchers link to eye health.
  3. Red Carrots: These contain vitamin C to boost your immune system, vitamin 6 for your brains, potassium (a counterbalance to sodium), and biotin to strengthen nails.
  4. Purple Carrots: These are high on anthocyanins, which may reduce both inflammation and obesity.
  5. White Carrots: While they lack the nutrient-rich ingredients in colored carrots, these are nutritious in that they add fiber to aid digestion.

I also wanted to see if raw carrots are nutrtionally better for us than cooked carrots, since most literature tells us that cooking destroys many nutrients. In an internet tidbit listing The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry as the source, cooking carrots increases the level of beta-carotene, but in another article in that journal I quote the beginning of the facts: (Click on the link below the quote for the full story.)

“Cooking is crucial to our diets. It helps us digest food without expending huge amounts of energy. It softens food, such as cellulose fiber and raw meat, that our small teeth, weak jaws and digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle. And while we might hear from raw foodists that cooking kills vitamins and minerals in food (while also denaturing enzymes that aid digestion), it turns out raw vegetables are not always healthier…..” (Fact or Fiction: Raw Veggies are Healthier than Cooked Ones …https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/)

My common sense “take” on all of this is that we can eat both raw and cooked, more raw in warm weather, and more cooked in cold weather. Another way is to cook some veggies in the oven (roasting them) and serving them on a bed of dark greens. Then you get the best of both cooked and raw!

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