Carrots are the beautiful non-starchy vegetables with plenty of fiber, beta-carotene, calcium and vitamin K, which are important for our eye health, our skin, our immune system and our bone health.
In carrots beta-carotene is considered to be one of the most valuable nutrients as it is a strong antioxidant, helping you stay healthy. So how do we need to prepare carrots to extract the most benefits from it?
The answer is lying in the cooking methods. The best one is the mild cooking like steaming. By doing that you’ll increase the bioavailability of beta-carotene to your body. Of course, one may argue, that steaming carrots increases their glycemic index (GI). And that is true. To give you an example: raw carrots have GI of 16, while boiling peeled carrots increases their GI to 33 and by mashing carrots to a smooth paste you’ll achieve the maximum GI of carrots, which is equal to 60. As you can see, every time you do something with your carrots, you increase their GI. However, even the smooth carrot paste stays within medium GI and its glycemic load stays around 2, which is low. This means that fibers in carrots help slow down a quick release of sugar. So, nothing to worry about.
Back to our beta-carotene. After its increased bioavailability by steaming, the next step would be to increase its absorption by your body. You can easily do this by adding some full fat (such as extra virgin olive oil) to your steamed carrots.
I hope this information will inspire you to come up with the healthiest carrot dishes. Enjoy your carrots, but in moderation as too much of them can not only make your skin turn orange-yellow, but also can keep vitamin A from doing its job, resulting in health problems with your vision, skin, immune system or bones.