Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Uncooked carrots still better for you ?!

It is well known on the scientific literature that cooking carrots makes the beta carotene more available for the body to absorb. It is also known that pureeing them maximizes the bio availability. It is thought that cooking breaks down the physical structure of the carrot, thus making it easier for your body to extract the nutrients. Pureeing again maximizes the ability for the digestive process to extract the beta carotene.

A quick google search brings up a paper that shows bioavailability of pureed cooked carrots have a 65% bioavailability were as raw chopped carrots have 40% availability.

So it seems pretty simple - you should have your carrots cooked, and were possible mashed.

Well life is near that simple! Reading today a study that showed that 60% of carotene in carrots is destroyed in the cooking process.

Let us imagine that our carrots have 100 mg of beta carotene. So after cooking we are left with 40 mg, and the body can absorb 65% of this. Thus we absorb 26 mg in total. So for the same carrots but eaten raw we would get 40 mg of beta carotene.

Therefore it would look like raw carrots are still better for you. This makes sense to me, as rule of thumb is the more your process something the less nutritional value it has. However my disclaimer is that this is not an exhaustive literature review so in time cooked might be better. But until them feel free to keep eating your carrots raw (I loath the taste of cooked carrots - so I am happy!)

Ref's: Zakaria et al Caroteniod bioavailability of vegetables and carbohydrate containing foods measured by retional accumulation in rat livers. Jounral of Food composition and analysis 2000 vol 13 pg 301
Livny et al ß-carotene bioavailability from differently processed carrot meals in human ileostomy volunteers Volume 42, Number 6 / December, 2003 European Journal of Nutrition
Picture credit 

No comments:

Post a Comment