Carrot, an orange vegetable containing beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, is known to be “good for the eyes”. However, is it the best vegetable for maintaining eye health? Let’s find out the truth about this vegetable if it is the most effective food for protecting the eyes against external aggressions and UV rays.
Presentation Of The Carrot
The carrot is part of root vegetables, tubers and stems, just like radish or onion. It holds second place on the list of vegetables most consumed by the French, the tomato being number one on the list. The carrot is full of vitamins and minerals.
A carrot typically reaches an average weight of 125 grams. It took on the red-orange hue, which was not always the case. Before, it had the colour white instead and was mainly made up of fibres.
This vegetable appeared in different aspects over time. But it remains essential to our health and well-being due to its high mineral content.
Knowing that eating 200 grams of carrot daily can compensate for 200% of our beta-carotene needs.
Carrot Nutritional Information
In 1 kg of this vegetable, we find:
Calories 364 kcal (raw) and 190 kcal (cooked)
Protein 770 g (natural) and 550 g (cooked)
Carbohydrates 64.5 g (crude) and 26 g (cooked)
Lipids 2.6 g (raw) and 1 g (cooked)
Beta carotene 82900 µg (raw) and 33400 µg (cooked)
Vitamin B9 323 µg (raw) and 233 µg (cooked)
Potassium 3010 mg (raw) and 964 mg (cooked)
Calcium 326 mg (raw) and 315 mg (cooked)
Magnesium 113 mg (raw) and 75 mg (cooked)
Selenium 1.7 mg (raw) and 29.7 mg (cooked)
Iodine 50 µg (raw) and 100 µg (cooked)
When To Eat Carrots
The carrot is a vegetable that can be eaten all year round because it is available on the stalls from January to December.
Carrot: Is It The Best Vegetable For The Eyes?
Alain Huot, a nutritionist and naturopath, confirms that carrots are suitable for the eyes. It states that:
“Indeed, carrots are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant precursor of vitamin A. However, vitamin A is essential for the proper functioning of the retina, both for the cells involved in daytime vision (cone-shaped cells), and those involved in night vision (rod-shaped cells). “-Alain Huot, natural medicine therapist, nutritionist and author of Focus on Sight.
According to this specialist, the eyes rely on two pigments: lutein and zeaxanthin, to protect against UV rays and oxidative stress causing damage to the retina. However, they are present in more significant amounts in green foods than in yellow and orange foods.
Although carrots are then a natural source of vitamin A, an element ensuring the proper functioning of the retina, the medal goes to spinach because it contains on average 11.9 mg of lutein.
“400 g of spinach per week leads to an increase in macular pigmentation by 20% in 6 months” -Alain Huot.
It should also be noted that the high content of vitamin A in carrots does not have as infallible protective power for the eyes as the high dose of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are supplied in more significant quantities by green foods. This is why Alain Huot affirms that:
“Too much synthetic vitamin A can have the opposite effect in certain situations. “
Recipe Some Ideas: How To Eat Carrots?
We can cook and consume the carrot according to our desires: raw, cooked, in soup, mashed, grated, with an assortment of vegetables… etc.
The early carrot does not generally require peeling, only washing with running water. Other varieties of carrots can be peeled with a peeler or brushed under running water. Depending on your mood and the dish you want to prepare, you can cut the carrots into large pieces, whole, small dice, sticks or even slices.
If you do not want to consume them immediately, consider adding a little lemon juice so that they do not take a blackish tint. Besides, lemon and carrot go well in slimming recipes, of course, if you plan to go on a diet. Just do a little calculation of your BMI to find out if it’s necessary or not.
The Different Ways To Cook Carrots:
- In the pressure cooker, do not put more than 8 minutes.
- In boiling water for 30 min at most
- And if you want to glaze them, you have to cook over low heat in a saucepan: your carrots, butter, salt and a little sugar, and add water at ¼ the height of the carrots. Leave uncovered and remove from heat until all the water has evaporated.
- To concoct stewed carrots, allow maximum cooking of 30 min in a saucepan containing hazelnuts, butter and broth (1 glass)
Different Ways To Match Your Carrots
No matter which way you want to eat your carrots, it will lend itself to all your preferences:
- in the famous carrot cake
- carrot pies too
- in single or puree accompanied apple earth for a texture more smooth
- in the soup
- in ratatouille
- in terrine
- for the aperitif: in small sticks to dip in cream or various other sauces
- grated, they can go well with other ingredients, also grated: apples, peppers, button mushrooms, dried fruits etc.
- as an accompaniment to meats
- You can make your puree thicker and tastier with a small portion of almond powder.
- Carrot leaves should not be discarded. They can be added to broth or soup.
The Different Varieties Of Carrot
Over time, several varieties of carrots have emerged. The different types known by the names: early, guard and seasonal are, in fact, a designation of the period when the carrot is produced.
This variety is found from the beginning of June until July. It is usually picked very young and is particularly appreciated for its freshness. Some types of early carrots: Nanda, Nansen, presto and Yukon
From July to October, the seasonal carrot takes over from the early carrot. A few varieties of seasonal carrots: bolero, Dordogne, maestro or laguna.
Carrots For Keeping
This variety exists in winter and autumn.
The vast majority of current carrots are derived from old carrots but improved in taste and flavour.
Big And Small Stories
In times gone by, neither the Greeks nor the Romans appreciated the carrot because of its flavour, white colour, and extensive fibres.
It was during the Renaissance that the carrot saw the first improvement in its flavour. Then, in the 19th century, it finally acquired its current colour.