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The Secret of...CARROT

Carrot (English)
Gaajar (Hindi)
Carrot (Tamil)

Natures Wonder Drug:

Carrots are nutritional heroes - they store a goldmine of nutrients.

Historians believe the carrot's origins are rooted in Western Asia especially Afghanistan in the 8th century.

Carrots were once very thin and did not have the sweet taste - the unpleasant tasting carrots were rarely eaten but were applied medicinally.

Luckily sometime in 17th century, some motivated folks took carrots under their horticultural wings and taught them how to be sweet.

India features carrots in their Halwa and Kheer in 18th century itself, two pudding-like desserts enjoyed even today.

How it is Grown?

Carrot is a root vegetable. Carrot is the delicious orange root with the green feathery leaves that grow on top.

Carrots thrive in a garden that gets plenty of sunshine and grow best in deep, moist, sandy soil with good drainage.

The mature carrots can be harvested in about 45 days.

Carrot seeds: If you leave a carrot grow without pulling the root, eventually many little flowers form on the top green part and will become seeds after pollination. These seeds are used for planting carrots.

Important Facts:

Experiments show that eating lightly-cooked carrots is much more beneficial than eating raw carrots.

In order to assimilate the greatest quantity of the nutrients present in carrots, it is important to chew them well. Unless the carrot is juiced then consumed, the body cannot break down the goodness because of the cellular nature of the carrot.

So in reality, unlike most other vegetables (though not all), carrots are more nutritious when eaten cooked than eaten raw -except when juiced. Because raw carrots have tough cellular walls, the body is able to convert less than 25 per cent of their beta carotene into vitamin A. Cooking, however, partially dissolves cellulose-thickened cell walls, freeing up nutrients by breaking down the cell membranes.

Researchers indicate that for carrots, cooking also increases antioxidant power.

Interesting Facts:

Carrot juice was the first colorants used to enhance the appearance of pale colored butter and cheeses.

On the sweetness scale among vegetables, Carrots rank second with a sugar content of 7 percent behind beets.

Avoid storing carrots close to fruits such as apples and pears. Many fruits create ethylene gas that hastens ripening and may affect the carrots.

Goodness:

Vitamins & Minerals:

Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium; they contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, and magnesium.

Instant Energy:

For anyone eating on the run, one cup of fresh carrot juice can offer a quick energy boost with its 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and only 94 calories.

Eye sight:

That carrots contribute to improved eyesight is no myth. The high content of vitamin A is beneficial and contributes to the function of the retina of the eyes. Because beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant, eating carrots frequently may help prevent cataracts.

Stomach Tonic:

Any ulcerous sores were treated with a compress of ground up carrots. Carrots were prescribed as a stomach tonic.

Lowers Cholesterol:

Carrot is a truly versatile vegetable and an excellent source of calcium pectate, an extraordinary pectin fiber that has been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties.

Antioxidants:

Antioxidants are among carrots' best features and that protects against heart disease, cancer and tumor growth.

Purifies Blood:

Carrot tops are an outstanding source of chlorophyll, the green pigment that studies have shown to combat the growth of tumors. Chlorophyll contains cleansing properties that purify the blood, lymph nodes, and adrenal glands.

How can you enjoy?

Carrots are among the most versatile vegetables in the garden.It requires absolutely no preparation at all. Just wash and eat--it doesn't get much easier than that.But make sure your chew them very well.

Carrot juice is good in taste and gives instant energy.

Use carrot in vegetable briyani , vegetable kurma and any mixed vegetable curry. Carrot poriyal is a good combination with sambar rice.

Carrot Halwa is a famous dessert in India. Carrot pickle is a very healthy snack.

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