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Christmas dinner staple carrot can reduce cancer risk; amazing benefits, recipes | Health

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Must like other festive delicacies, Christmas treats too are loaded with calories from creamy cakes, pecan pie, cheese balls, delicious eggnogs among others. However, there are some elements of your Christmas dinner that could actually be beneficial for your health. Carrot could be one of the healthy additions to your feast. Researchers at Newcastle University have found that the popular festive side-dish of carrots could help reduce the risk of cancer by almost a quarter. Research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, found that five servings of carrot per week could lower risk of developing all types of cancer by 20%. People who eat just one serving per week minimise their cancer risk by 4%. (Also read: 6 benefits of eating raw carrot for overall health)

Researchers at Newcastle University have found that the popular festive side-dish of carrots could help reduce the risk of cancer by almost a quarter. (Pinterest, Freepik)
Researchers at Newcastle University have found that the popular festive side-dish of carrots could help reduce the risk of cancer by almost a quarter. (Pinterest, Freepik)

Newcastle University experts says that it’s not the β-carotene, but the whole carrot that helps ward off cancer if consumed in enough quantity.

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Winter is an excellent time to embrace the nutritional goodness of carrots. These crunchy root vegetables are not only in season but also offer unique benefits during the colder months.

“Carrots are known for their high vitamin A content, primarily in the form of beta-carotene. This nutrient is particularly beneficial during winter as it plays a crucial role in supporting immune function. A robust immune system is vital for warding off seasonal colds and flu, making carrots a valuable addition to your winter diet. The absorption of Vitamin A improves when combined with a fat- so always use a little bit of ghee oil or butter to sauté, bake, grill or stir fry carrots,” says Abhilasha V Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru.

Reasons why you should add carrots to your Christmas dinner

Abhilasha V shares other benefits of carrots and reasons to add it to your Christmas feast.

1. Prevents cell damage: The antioxidants present in carrots contribute to overall wellness by combating oxidative stress, which can be heightened during the winter months due to various environmental factors. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage, providing a defence against illnesses and supporting your body’s natural resilience.

2. Helps in digestion: The fibre content in carrots is another winter-friendly aspect. Fibre aids in digestion and can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is especially important during a season when cravings for sugary comfort foods may be higher. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels can contribute to sustained energy and mood throughout the winter. Diabetics can use caution around consumption of carrots based on their sugar levels.

3. Eases pregnancy discomfort: Carrots are an excellent choice for pregnant women due to their rich nutrient profile. Packed with vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, carrots promote healthy foetal development, particularly in the eyes and skin. The fibre content aids in digestion, helping alleviate common pregnancy discomforts such as constipation. Additionally, the vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin K, contribute to overall maternal health.

4. Burst of flavour and nutrition: Carrots are versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways during the colder months. Whether incorporated into warming soups, roasted as a side dish, or simply enjoyed as a crunchy snack, they add a burst of flavour and nutrition to your winter meals.

Carrot recipes for Christmas

1. Honey Glazed Carrots

Ingredients: Carrots, honey, orange juice, cinnamon, salt, and butter

Making time: 25 minutes

Method

Slice carrots and roast them in a mixture of honey, fresh orange juice, a pinch of cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Toss with a bit of butter before serving for a festive and flavourful side dish.

2. Carrot and Ginger Soup

Ingredients: Carrots, ginger, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, coconut milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Making time: 45 minutes

Instructions: Sauté chopped carrots, ginger, onion, and garlic in a pot. Add vegetable broth, simmer until carrots are tender, then blend until smooth. Stir in coconut milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper for a comforting Christmas soup.

3. Maple Glazed Carrot and Pecan Salad

Ingredients: Carrots, maple syrup, pecans, mixed greens, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

Making time: 25 minutes

Instructions: Roast carrots with maple syrup and toss with mixed greens. Top with toasted pecans. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper for a delightful dressing.

4. Carrot and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients: Carrots, cream cheese, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Making time: 40 minutes

Instructions: Sauté finely grated carrots, garlic, and thyme. Mix with cream cheese. Stuff mushrooms, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake until golden for a savoury appetizer.

5. Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients: Grated carrots, flour, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, baking powder, cinnamon, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and chopped walnuts.

Making time: 1 hour

Instructions: Mix grated carrots into a batter of flour, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, baking powder, and cinnamon. Bake as cupcakes. For frosting, blend cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Frost cupcakes and garnish with chopped walnuts for a festive dessert.

These recipes bring out the sweet and savoury side of carrots, adding a burst of colour and flavour to your Christmas table.

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