Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carrots are better for you than I thought

Carrot juice - a staple of all wellness people. I have always been a bit wary of carrot juice because people tend to drink only carrot juice. Variety is very important even with juicing. So I think that beetroot juice should be drunk as much as carrot juice. Also vary additional things in the carrot juice. eg putting in herbs / spices. We use lemon grass or lemon balm to give a lemon twist to our juices. Also use green vege's (NZ spinach or silver beet that is red/orange) to add variety. The green stuff makes the juice look brown and discussing, however as long at the green juice is less than 25% of the juice it takes ok.

The other reason I was wary of carrot juice is that I thought it only provided beta carotene. This is because everything you read about carrots talks about beta carotene. I though other vegetables would be better as the have a larger mix of carotenoids.

However it turns out that carrots have more in them than beta carotene. They have:
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin. It is only a very small amount, but still measurable and worthwhile to have
  • Alpha carotene. It have very high levels of alpha carotene, about half the level of beta carotene. 
  • Beta carotene. Carrots have almost double the level of other vegetables. 
So carrots have really high alpha and beta carotene as well as low levels of lutein and Zeaxanthin. So it makes them much better than I thought. So enjoy your carrot juice.

PS Beetroot wasn't analyzed in this study, so can't tell if beetroot is better! When I find out I will post.

Reference: Murkovic et al Development of an Austrian carotenoid database. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis vol 13 pg 435 2000.

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