Several varieties of carrots exist on the market. Most are orange but some are purple, yellow, pink or white. What do they have more than others? Know that the color of the carrot is a good indicator of the type of pigment found in it.They do not contain all the same carotenoids. In fact, the diversity of carrots is the result of a genetic selection started more than a thousand years ago.
The pigments responsible for color
Carotenoids and anthocyanins are the main pigments of carrots. Their concentrations vary according to the variety. Carotenoids include lycopene, alpha (α) and beta (β) -carotenes, and lutein. Anthocyanins are found only in the purple carrot. It contains fewer carotenes but more phenolic compounds (antioxidants), which gives them a higher antioxidant capacity than yellow and orange carrots. Purple Haze, the purple heart with orange heart, contains many more carotenoids than the purple variety alone. These are the orange carrots that still contain the most total carotenoids of which 65% are ß-carotenes. For purple and yellow carrots, lutein accounts for almost half of the total carotenoids.According to an analysis carried out on 21 fruits and vegetables, it is the orange carrot which contains the largest quantity of ß, ß-carotene, also called pro-vitamin A. Once absorbed, ß, ß-carotene (pro-vitamin A) divides into two molecules called retinal which are subsequently transformed into vitamin A or retinol. It contains approximately 6.6 mg per 100g of consumable portion. Note that the actual amount depends on several factors such as season, ripeness and variety.
All carrot varieties also contain fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
Important antioxidant activity
Carrots are an important source of antioxidants. What are these antioxidants for? They serve to neutralize the free radicals normally produced by the body. These free radicals cause damage to lipids, proteins and DNA (causes cancer).
Lycopene is an excellent anti-cancer. A-carotene protects the airways, including the esophagus and mouth, against cancer. ß-carotene helps prevent skin diseases caused by UV and cardiovascular diseases. Lutein protects against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Anthocyanins are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. They would also help destroy the cancer cells.
High concentration prooxidants
Taking carotenoid supplements is not a good idea. Too high doses produce the opposite effect. They are said to become pro-oxidants as they lose their antioxidant property. Two scientific studies of smokers taking ß-carotene supplements showed an increase in the number of lung cancer cases.These supplements could therefore be involved in the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Tips to better enjoy their antioxidants
Do not peel these carrots, especially if they are fresh. It is best to brush them because the vitamins are directly under the skin. To better assimilate antioxidants, consume them with a source of fat such as oil, cheese, etc.Cooking would also promote better absorption as it would increase the bioavailability of carotenoids by approximately 6-fold.
An important source of antioxidants, carrots must be part of your daily menu. Wash them well to remove pesticide residues. Consume fresh products instead of supplements, you will be more of a winner!