“Carrots” are used not only in Japan and Singapore, but in many dishes all over the world. They can be even said to be a representative of vegetables, of which we always have stock in our fridges, but they are so familiar to us that there are probably a lot of people who have never even thought about what the characteristics of carrots are.
Carrots are presumed to have originated in the area of the Hindu Cush mountain range in Afghanistan. They would have arrived to the West: Spain, Holland and England, in the 16th century, after passing through Turkey and Iran. They are said to have been introduced to the East during the 1300’s, first to China, and to have made it to Japan during the Muromachi period. They are currently cultivated mainly in temperate regions all over the world.
Carrots are known as part of the category of green and yellow (brightly colored) vegetables, and they are admittedly a “vegetable of high nutritional value”. But, do you know what kind of nutritional components carrots contain?
The components of carrots
- Carotene (Vitamin A)
This components changes and turns into Vitamin A in the small intestine. It appears that its name, “carotene” comes from the English word “carrot” – that is to say how predominant the amount of carotene is in this vegetable.
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fiber
These components are said to contribute to the following positive effects of carrots.
- 1) Improve the immune system.
Carotene maintains mucous membranes in normal shape, and since it protects from the invasion of bacteria and viruses, it is said to be effective to prevent colds, viral diseases, control cancer (especially lung cancer), arteriosclerosis and heart diseases. Also, it seems that eating it together with tomato, which contains lycopene, makes it even more effective in preventing cancer.
- 2) Maintain a fair and beautiful skin
Carotene helps forming the mucous membranes of the skin, so it is said to prevent dry and bad skin. Vitamin C also helps to make the skin beautiful and works in the composition of collagen.
- 3) Remedy for constipation
Since dietary fiber regulates bowel movements, it is directly linked to improving constipation symptoms and it is said to eliminate the excess of cholesterol from the body.
Besides the carotene (Vitamin A) and Vitamin C contained in carrots, they also have many nutritional components such as minerals and glutamic acid in the parts close to the skin, so cooking the carrots with the skin on allows us to get all the nutrients without wasting any. Also, since carotene (Vitamin A) is a fat soluble vitamin, I recommend taking it with oil – deep frying or stir frying the carrots,- since it improves its absorption capacity.
However, consuming too much carotene (Vitamin A) is said to cause “carotenosis”, which makes our skin turn yellow, and cirrhosis, so there may be people taking care not to eat them if possible. The truth is that consuming carrots in the amount of a regular meal does not cause any problem. As long as you do not take a really excessive amount of carotene, it will not cause any liver problems, so do not worry and go ahead eating them.
Also, raw carrots contain “ascorbinase”, an enzyme that destroys Vitamin C, so it is said that it is better to eat them cooked. But if you still want to eat raw carrots, I recommend putting a bit of vinegar or lemon on it, so it will weaken the destructive effect on Vitamin C. When using carrots for salads at home, it may be a good idea to warm them, or to use a dressing that has vinegar or lemon in it.
By the way, the “white carrot” used in the representative Singaporean dish “carrot cake” is actually “radish”, so be careful not to make a mistake…
Depending on the food item, it may affect negatively to people with food allergies. Before eating something, I recommend reading its label carefully.
Recommended by the Editorial Department
Organic shop located in Bukit Timah Road. In the first floor you can find fresh, safe and highly nutritional organic vegetables and fruits. These are not vegetables picked nearby in Singapore or Malaysia, but an assortment of approved organic vegetables imported by air every week from the US, Australia and New Zealand. Of course, they also have organic carrots. I invite you to visit them at least once.
URL : http://www.eat-organic.com.sg/