Why you need a daily dose of carrots for controlling cholesterol, blood sugar and obesity at one go
Find out why this filling vegetable can balance your meal plans and health from Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals
Not for nothing do carrots feature in your salads, soups and lentils. What if we told you that they take care of the three conditions that most of us suffer from — diabetes, obesity and cholesterol. The water content of carrots is between 86 and 95 per cent, making them a filling food that doesn’t increase the total caloric load. They also contain very little fat, yet they are appetising and sweet.
HOW DO CARROTS HELP IN DIABETES MANAGEMENT?
Carrots have a low glycemic index (GI) due to their fibre content. The soluble fibre slows down digestion and the absorption of sugar, preventing rapid spikes in blood glucose levels. Moreover, carrots are rich in antioxidants, notably beta-carotene, which may enhance insulin sensitivity, potentially aiding in better blood sugar control. Studies suggest so too. At the same time, there is a need for moderation. A serving size of about half a cup of cooked carrots or one medium-sized raw carrot is reasonable enough to include in meals without significantly impacting blood sugar levels.
CARROTS PROTECT HEART HEALTH
They have an abundance of antioxidants like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, which help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, reducing the risk of heart ailments. Their high potassium content maintains healthy blood pressure levels by counterbalancing the effects of sodium, thus supporting cardiovascular function. Additionally, the soluble fibre in carrots aids in reducing cholesterol levels, particularly the bad or low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis or plaques in arteries. Approximately one to two medium-sized carrots daily can be beneficial without significantly impacting overall calorie intake.
CARROTS HELP IN WEIGHT LOSS
Carrots are ideal for a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet because of their fibre load that prevents overeating or snacking. Moreover, they contain compounds that might aid in weight loss by impacting the hormones involved in fat metabolism. Insoluble fibres like cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin eliminate constipation and promote gut health, indirectly controlling abdominal fat. A reasonable portion for weight management purposes would be around one cup of chopped carrots per day as part of meals or snacks.
1) Raw: Snack on fresh, raw carrot sticks with hummus or yogurt-based dips.
2) Cooked: Steam, roast, or stir-fry carrots as a side dish or part of a main course.
3) Soups and stews: Add chopped or sliced carrots to soups, stews or casseroles for added flavour and nutrition.