Taraweeh prayers have come to an end and as you walk out of the mosque, you see the masses swarming around the carrot juice stands, buying bottles and gallons for their families. Some say it’s a tradition carried over many years. Some say it hydrates you well for the following day of fasting. Some say it improves your eyesight. So, what is it about this famous Ramadan carrot juice? We asked our Dietitian, Fatima Ferkh, about all the hype around this humble drink. This article summarizes what she had to say.
Carrots make a great snack between meals and a great addition to soups, salads and side dishes; however, it is unlikely that you would eat 4-5 carrots in one meal, let alone one day. 1 cup of carrot juice provides the same amount of energy as 4-5 servings of vegetables, with 80-90 calories compared to the 19 calories in one medium carrot.
When compared to other freshly squeezed juices however, carrot juice generally has less calories; with fruit juices such as orange juice having around 140 calories per serve.
One cup of juice retains the same amount of fibre as just one large carrot, losing the fibre of the remaining 2-5 carrots that have been juiced. Since your 5 serves of vegetables are supposed to supply you with a large percentage of your daily intake of fibre, it is probably not a wise choice to have your 5 serves in the form of juice as one cup of juice has only 1.9 grams of fibre, which only contributes to 5-8 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Carrots provide a good source of vitamin K. It is used in our bodies to create proteins that help our blood clot and stops uncontrolled bleeding. One cup of carrot juice has 36 micrograms of vitamin K, while one large carrot supplies 8 micrograms. The juice provides you with almost 50% of your recommended daily intake while one carrot only provides you with 11%.
In saying that, one has to acknowledge the calorie intake of having carrot juice. It takes up to 5 carrots to make a cup, in turn the sugar content is much higher, therefore opt for a small cup instead of a large one from a dietary intake perspective
Other leafy green vegetables are also high in vitamin K and having a balanced diet rich in a variety of vegetables can help you reach your goals.
Carrots and carrot juice are also high in other essential micronutrients such as beta carotene, biotin, potassium and vitamin B6.
As mentioned above, carrots are rich in beta carotene which is a provitamin A carotenoid. This means the body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed for many processes in the body including immune function and general cell growth and differentiation. It is also extremely essential for vision as it is assists in the normal performance of the cornea and conjunctival membranes and is a component of rhodopsin which is used to absorb light in the eye.
In saying that, provitamin A carotenoids can be found in plenty of other vegetables including green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale as well as other orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as sweet potato, tomatoes and mangoes. Moreover, preformed vitamin A can be found in many animal products such as liver, fish oil, milk, eggs and oily fish.
Thus, having a rich and balanced diet can help supply you with a good amount of vitamin A and other essential vitamins and minerals and including carrots in your diet is definitely a good idea, just not necessarily in the form of juice.
May your month of Ramadan be blessed and enjoy drinking carrot juice wisely!