Boiling whole carrots 'unlikely to reduce cancer risk'

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has said that there is "almost no evidence" to suggest that waiting until carrots are cooked before chopping them up may reduce a person's risk of cancer.

The comments follow claims from researchers who presented a study in Lille today (June 17th), suggesting that whole carrots may retain more anti-cancer properties during the boiling process than chopped ones.

Researchers at Newcastle University focused on a compound called falcarinol which has previously been shown to have possible anti-cancer properties. Rats which were fed on falcarinol were found to be a third less likely to develop tumours than those given a regular diet.

The latest study found that boiling softens the carrots' cell walls, allowing falcarinol to leach out from the surface of the vegetable.

According to Dr Kirsten Brandt, from the university's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, carrots that are boiled before being cut contain 25 per cent more falcarinol than those that are chopped up first, as chopping increases the surface area from which the compound can be lost.

She claimed: "By cooking them whole and chopping them up afterwards you are locking in both taste and nutrients, so the carrot is better for you all round."

However, Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK's senior science information officer, said: "While chopping your carrots after you've boiled them may make them taste better, there's almost no evidence to show it will make a difference to your cancer risk.

"When it comes to eating, we know that a healthy balanced diet - rich in a range of fruit and vegetables - plays an important part in reducing the risk of many types of cancer, rather than any one specific food."