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Are raw or cooked carrots healthier? The answer may surprise many

Carrots are delicious both raw and cooked.

Carrots are a very healthy vegetable without doubt. In addition, they are very versatile: can be used in cream soup, as a steamed side dish, in cakes, or simply as a raw snack that can be taken along on a busy day.

Vegetables generally contain the most useful nutrients raw, so it is worth consuming as much of them as possible. However, there are also several kinds that actually may benefit from some heat treatment. These include carrots.

Are carrots healthier cooked or raw?

Dietitians and nutritionists frequently emphasize how important it is to include as many vegetables as possible in our diet. Plants provide fiber, important nutrients and cell-protective, antioxidant compounds. It is a general recommendation that it is the best eating them raw precisely because of their valuable nutrients.

This also applies to carrots: after washing and peeling, they make a healthy crunchy snack on their own or with vegetable dips. At the same time, according to studies, heat treatment does not necessarily remove these nutrients from carrots.

The beneficial health effects of carrots are mostly attributed to the beta-carotene they contain. This compound, in addition to providing the color of the vegetable, is the protovitamin of vitamin A, which means that it is converted into vitamin A in the body. The plant pigment is a powerful antioxidant, has anti-cancer properties, supports the immune system and helps maintain a good vision and a healthy skin.

Are raw or cooked carrots healthier? The answer may surprise many
Image: Freepik

Although in general the vitamin and phytonutrient content of vegetables decreases as a result of baking and cooking, in the case of carrots, tests show that heat treatment increases the amount of beta-carotene absorbed by the body, thus improving the utilization of this valuable substance.

At the same time, as a result of cooking, the amount of beta-carotene in the food decreases, as does the vitamin C content, but during steaming and baking in the oven, the decrease is smaller than when carrots are fried in hot oil or boiled.

Whether you eat them raw or cooked, you are doing your body a favor if you eat them regularly. In addition to beta-carotene and vitamin C, this tasty, low-calorie, but nutritious vegetable also contains fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants.

The pectin in carrots is a soluble fiber that slows down the absorption of sugar, so it can contribute to lowering blood sugar levels. It also nourishes the beneficial intestinal bacteria and can improve the condition of the intestinal flora.

Another beneficial feature is that it impairs the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive system, thereby reducing blood cholesterol levels. The main insoluble fibers of carrots are cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, which play an important role in promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Potassium is essential for blood pressure regulation, and vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting and supports bone health.

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