When one talks about healthy vegetables, carrot features as one of the top on the list. This vegetable is easily one of the healthiest ones available to us. Carrots have been known to mankind since the early days of agriculture. They have been cultivated since many centuries ago.
While most of us know carrots as a vegetable with a red or orange hue, there are also some other varieties of carrots like the purple carrots or the lighter yellowish carrots that are seen in some areas. But the most commonly seen varieties of carrots are the red carrots and the orange carrots. These carrots are commonly seen in most parts of the world.
Orange carrots are seen very commonly almost all year round. The red variety of carrots is usually seen during winter. Often these carrots can be used interchangeably, but they both have some differences. Let us have a look at carrots in general and address the constant debate between orange carrots and red carrots and which of the two is a better option.
Carrots being a vegetarian source of nutrition, can be easily consumed by vegetarians, non-vegetarians, vegans, and people following other diet forms like the keto diet, paleo diet etc.
Nutritional Importance of Carrots in General
Whether you talk about red carrots or orange carrots, both are broadly similar with a few differences between them. Notwithstanding the kind, carrots are considered to be a very healthy vegetable that is packed with nutrition.
Carrots are low in calories, low in fats but high in fibre and many vitamins and minerals. This makes carrots a powerhouse of nutrition.
Approximately 1 cup of raw carrots contains no more than 40 calories. So carrots become a low-calorie delicious snack.
The nutritional content of carrots is such that, they contain low fats, low on carbohydrates and a high amount of dietary fibre. It is also enriched with nutrients like iron, sodium, potassium and calcium.
It is also one of the richest sources of Vitamin A. Other important nutrients found in carrots are Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Why You Should Include Carrots in Your Daily Diet?
Carrots are one of the richest sources of Vitamin A, a whole medium-sized carrot will give about 73% of the daily requirement amount of Vitamin A in the body.
This reason alone is enough to ensure we include at least one carrot a day in our daily diet. Vitamin A, also known as Beta carotene, is where carrot derives its name from. As discussed, carrots are abundantly full of beta-carotene or Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for the body, as it is needed to maintain healthy eyes, healthy vision, good skin etc.
In fact, people with poor vision are often advised to consume carrots in their daily diet, to supply the body with the much-needed Vitamin A.
Beta-carotene naturally helps to keep vision and eye health in check.
A deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to poor vision, dry eyes, dry skin, night blindness, stunted growth in children, skin problems like acne also poor wound healing may be caused.
Other foods that are naturally rich in beta-carotene are pumpkin, papaya, mangoes, apricots, nectarines etc.
All the above-mentioned information is true for both red carrots as well as orange carrots. But if these carrots were to be compared with each other, while both are good for health and an excellent source of nutrition, there may be a slight difference.
These carrots are found exclusively during the winter in India. They are slightly sweeter in taste as compared to the orange carrots. Physically, red carrots are longer and thinner than orange ones and have a darker hue.
Nutritionally, red carrots contain the following nutrients in plenty.
More Beta-carotene- The abundance of beta-carotene in red carrots lends it the darker red shade. Red carrots contain a higher amount of Beta-Carotene as compared to orange ones. Beta-carotene also known as Vitamin A, as discussed above is essential for good eyesight and healthy skin. Red carrots are rich in Beta-Carotene among other nutrients.
Lycopene- Lycopene is yet another essential nutrient found in red carrots. Lycopene is an essential nutrient making red carrots very important is that it works against free radicles. It helps to defend the body against the chances of cancer. So lycopene is said to possibly have an anti-cancerous effect, making it a vital nutrient. It is also said to be a defence against muscular degeneration, it also prevents serum lipid oxidation. All in all, lycopene is vital in fighting against some serious medical conditions. Hence intake of lycopene is of great importance.
Tomatoes are other foods that contain lycopene.
Anthocyanin- Red carrots are also rich in anthocyanin, which is helpful in maintaining heart health. The anthocyanin present in red carrots helps to prevent damage to the heart muscles.
Orange carrots are available all year round so are obviously used more often. Taste-wise, they are not as sweet as red carrots but are pleasant tasting nevertheless. Orange carrots are often shorter and thicker in size.
Nutritionally they are slightly different as compared to red carrots as mentioned below.
Orange carrots are known to have abundant quantities of Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Lutein- It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Lutein is greatly beneficial for eyes, as helps in the management of age-related macular degeneration, and helps to prevent blindness and other impairment of vision.
Orange carrots are also rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps with the clotting time of blood. This is especially useful in people with bleeding disorders or those on medication for thinning of blood. Vitamin E is particularly known to help get naturally healthy skin.
We have seen their nutritional importance and know that whether red or orange carrots, both are nutritionally very good for one’s health and must be consumed on a regular basis.
As both contain Vitamin A as the main nutrient which is very good for the eyes and skin. So in order to maintain good health, it is important to include carrots in your daily diet.
How to Consume Red and Orange Carrots
Whether you prefer red carrots or orange carrots, using them in your meals is important for good health. Here are a few ways in which carrots can be consumed.
- Raw: Eating carrots raw is one of the best ways to consume them. You can simply chop them and enjoy them as a snack or add carrots to your salad and elevate your salad’s nutritional content.
- Juice: While it is fine to consume carrots in juice form, it must be noted that some essential fibre is lost when we filter the juice out.
- Soup: Simply pair carrots with other vegetables of your choice like tomatoes, beetroots, bottle gourd etc. and prepare a delicious hearty soup for yourself.
- Cooked: You can steam some carrots and enjoy them in a stir fry or plain steamed, or you can also prepare a mix of vegetables using carrots and enjoy it with rice or roti.