The carrot is a nutritious vegetable, ALL parts of which can be consumed (from root to shoot).
Meaning that we can eat the taproot (orange part) and also its green leaves growing above ground.
It’s cultivation originated in Afghanistan centuries ago and there were carrots grown in different colours
– black, purple, white and green - many varieties are cultivated even today.
The Dutch in the 1500’s started exclusively growing the orange-coloured cultivars and
carrots of this colour became the most commonly grown afterwards.
100gs of carrots contain 4.7g of healthy and natural sugars (even for diabetics),
almost 1 g of protein, fibre and essential minerals especially Potassium, Manganese,
Magnesium and Zinc. The Beta carotene (converted into Vitamin A by our liver) content
fulfills over 3 times our daily requirement of Vitamin A. Carrots also give Vitamins B, C and K.
Apart from these known components, there are many phytonutrients, most of these still unknown,
which act in conjunction with all other components present to boost our health.
In short, we don’t need a scientist or a doctor to tell us that carrots are healthy and prevent disease.
The ways carrots help our bodies:
- Improved eyesight
- Healthy skin
- Healthy neural function
- Improved gums, teeth and oral health
- Raised immunity
- Enhanced digestion and increased beneficial gut bacteria
- Improved respiratory function
- Reversal and prevention of chronic disease like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and others
... and many more benefits as yet unobserved by scientists.
The best way to eat carrots is to buy ORGANIC and boil or steam them to unlock the availability
of the beta-carotene. It is best to wash and cut (if necessary) just before cooking so as to retain nutrients.
Only peel lightly if they are not Organically grown. Never peel organic carrots - even if there is a little
soil present, this will benefit your Microbiome. Never soak, especially after cutting. The best way to
use carrots to heal or prevent disease is to wash and scrub the skin right before placing
the whole carrot in a little water or a steamer and cooking till the inside is just soft.
This way, you will retain the most nutrients for healing.
Did you know you can make a carrot cough syrup? Try this when you next have an
itchy throat or a cold (to prevent the cough in the first place). Wash and scrub half a kilo
of whole carrots and immerse them in water and place on a stove. Cover lightly with a lid.
Once the carrots are reasonably soft (not disintegrating/ overdone), drain the water
(it is nutrient rich so use in cooking or soups) and grind the boiled carrots finely in a blender.
Add 1 tablespoon of honey to the cooled carrot juice and store in a glass jar (not plastic)
in the fridge. For one day’s use, take out 3 - 4 tablespoons in a cup, let it warm to room temperature
and consume those 3-4 doses throughout the day. It is usually effective in 1-2 days but may not help
if the cough is allergic in nature.
You can also use the above process (without honey) to make carrot soup and some more
healthy ingredients like curry leaves and coriander as well as boiled tomato.
Carrot greens are extremely rich in nutrients and one way to get them (since they are rarely available)
is to grow your own organic carrots in a pot, backyard or even terrace! Quality guaranteed.
The humble tomato, Solanum Lycopersicum, is a visually beautiful fruit. Yes, fruit. Actually, most
vegetables are technically FRUITS according to Botany. However, they are used very differently
in our cuisine and food traditions.
The Tomato is probably the most famous fruit. It is used alongside vegetables to elevate
their flavour mainly due to the presence of Glutamate which provides the Fifth taste of Umami
(Salt, Sweet, Sour and Bitter being the other four).
Not all tomatoes are red in colour! There are orange, white, purple, pink, green and almost black varieties grown currently.
Tomatoes are also used to make the favourite condiment of most children – Ketchup! Instead of buying tomato sauce from the supermarket which has added sugar, flavouring, preservatives and even synthetic food colours, we can make it at home.
You may have heard that it is better to eat cooked tomatoes rather than raw since the cancer-fighting biochemical, Lycopene is more easily digested and absorbed when heated. According to Ayurveda it has to be cooked along with plenty of turmeric, black pepper and cumin (jeera) to reduce the impact of the sourness and its effects on health. Ayurvedic physicians may sometimes recommend avoiding tomatoes when someone’s digestive capacity is greatly weakened.
Suitable cooking methods for tomatoes are stewing, baking and steaming. Since the healthy
phytonutrients in tomatoes are better absorbed in the presence of fat, use a moderate amount of
cold-pressed organic oils when cooking.
Specific Health Benefits:
- Rubbing tomato paste protects against sunburn whereas ingestion of cooked tomatoes (activated Lycopene) partially protects us from the most harmful type of UV radiation from the Sun.
- Lowers levels of harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in blood.
- Reduces the risk of Cancer of the digestive and reproductive organs.
- Keeps the walls of our blood vessels healthy thus reducing the risk of High Blood Pressure,
stroke and heart attacks.
- Rich in antioxidants, tomatoes help to detoxify and boost our immunity.
- Carotene is known to keep the eyes healthy and tomatoes are rich in this compound.
- Good levels of Chromium in tomatoes help to regulate Diabetes.
- Lycopene can even be passed from Mother to child through breastmilk, boosting
their well-being and immunity.
- The high Vitamin C content ensures speedy wound healing as well as good immunity.
The main active biological compounds in Tomatoes are Lycopene (antioxidant),
Coumaric acid, Chlorogenic acid, Rutin, Tomatine and Tomatidine.
They also contain a good balance of many of the essential Vitamins such as A
(in Carotenoid form), most of the different types of B, C and K along with Magnesium,
Manganese and Phosphorus.
The bright red colour of tomatoes indicates its beneficial effect on our blood. In the end,
tomatoes add variety in flavour, colour and texture to our diet.