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Friday, June 26, 2009

Carrots Must Be Cooked Whole to Preserve Anti-Cancer Properties?

WEDNESDAY, June 17, (News Locale) - Carrots have always been recommended foods as far as sharpening vision is concerned. Now researchers at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK are suggesting that cooking carrots without slicing them may confer anti-cancer protection.

The active anti-cancer ingredient in carrots is called as falcarinol. This compound is a naturally occurring sugar, which possess considerable anti-cancer properties and also confers the slight sweet taste on the vegetable.

Researchers found in lab experiments that dicing or slicing carrots for cooking reduced the level of this compound by at least a quarter. "By cooking carrots whole and chopping them up afterwards, you are locking in both taste and nutrients so the carrot is better for you all round," said lead researcher Dr Kirsten Brandt, of the Newcastle University's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

Dr Brandt was assisted by researcher Ahlam Rashed in this study. Dr Brandt had earlier worked with colleagues at the University of Southern Denmark and had found the anti-cancer properties contained in carrots by virtue of the falcarinol content.

In a study on lab mice, this group of researchers found that a diet of carrots or falcarinol prevented the development of full scale tumours in these animals. They were one-third less likely to develop these tumours as compared to a control group, who were not fed carrots.

The research team then turned their attention to the way carrots are cooked and found that dicing or slicing "increases the surface area so more of the nutrients leach out into the water while they are cooked.”

Dr Brandt also said they tested out the taste of whole carrots in ten people and found most of them liked whole carrots rather than pre-chopped ones."The great thing about this is it's a simple way for people to increase their uptake of a compound we know is good for you," Dr Brandt explained.

The details of this study are due to be presented at NutrEvent, a conference on nutrition and health that is to be held in France.

Carrots are mainly consumed for their β-carotene content, which is metabolised into vitamin A in humans and is very useful for protecting vision. The vegetable is also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, minerals, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, biotin, potassium and thiamine. Carrot juice is a recommended health drink as well.
reference : web

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