Carrots are a favorite healthy snack for many households. And with their sweet taste, they’re a go-to snack for most children!
But what do you know about carrot benefits and what makes a carrot healthy for our bodies?
Read on to learn all about the health benefits of carrots and some creative ways you can incorporate carrots into your daily diet!
What is a Carrot?
The carrot is a root vegetable that is part of the Apiaceae family. While most carrots are bright orange in color, they are also available in yellow, red, white, and purple.
A carrot’s root is the most commonly eaten part of the plant. But the leaves and the stem are also able to be used as leafy greens in recipes.
The natural sugars within the carrot make it sweeter than most vegetables. They can also have an earthy or bitter taste to them.
Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked. There are varied health benefits to eating them in both states. It’s suggested you consume both raw and cooked carrots to gain all of the health benefits associated with them.
Nutrition Facts of a Carrot
One carrot is equal to two servings and is approximately ½ cup. In a single carrot, you will find the following vitamins and minerals.
- Sodium: 42mg
- Carbs: 6g
- Dietary fiber: 2g
- Total sugars: 3g
- Protein: 0.5g
- Vitamin A: 509 RAE (or 73% of the daily allowance)
- Vitamin K: 8mg
- Vitamin C: 3.6mg
- Calcium: 20mg
Fiber Content in Carrots
Carrots are a great source of fiber! Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble.
Pectin is soluble and is the main source of fiber found in carrots. One carrot has 10% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber needed in your diet!
Carb Content in Carrots
Carbohydrates are sometimes considered something to avoid when it comes to a healthy diet. But did you know there are plenty of healthy carbs, as well?
In fact, carrots consist mainly of only water and carbs. The carbs found in carrots are in the form of starch and sugars, specifically sucrose and glucose.
These carbohydrates are good for your body! The sugars in carrots are easier for your body to process than refined sugars.
Vitamins and Minerals in Carrots
There is an abundance of vitamins and minerals found in carrots. High levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and potassium are present in this sweet root vegetable.
Another vitamin is biotin, also known as vitamin B7, which plays an important role in fat and protein metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also a part of the carrot. This vitamin helps convert food to energy.
Vitamin K is important for blood coagulation, as well as polyacetylenes which help protect against leukemia and other cancers.
Read on for more information on the vitamins and minerals behind carrot nutrition.
Organ Health Benefits of Carrots
When it comes to skin health, there are many ways you can help protect it to keep it looking young. But did you know there are amazing carrot benefits for skin?
Carrots are packed with retinol, biotin, and lycopene, which are all common ingredients in face creams. These vitamins will help leave your skin feeling softer and healthier!
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Another great benefit of carrots is that they can help protect your heart against disease.
These superfoods have the antioxidants phenolic and lycopene, which can help prevent plaques from forming in the artery walls. And the fiber content within carrots has been shown to lower the risks of heart disease, as well.
Increases Liver Health by Reducing Toxins
By reducing the toxins already in the body, the liver can function better. This can help you feel more energetic!
The antioxidant glutathione has been found to aid in liver treatment. In addition, flavonoids and beta-carotenes have been proven to stimulate and support overall liver function.
Gut health is a popular topic when it comes to healthy living. There are several pills or drinks that will aid in the healthy functioning of the gut. But did you know that carrots can have the same effect?
Carrots are chocked full of fiber! Fiber is a key carbohydrate that can relieve constipation. An added benefit of fiber is that it can also feed into the healthy bacteria within the gut. And it absorbs cholesterol in the digestive tract, too.
Promotes Healthy Vision
Carrots offer considerable benefits when it comes to eye health.
Beta-carotene helps protect the eyes from the sun and helps to lower your chances of suffering from cataracts. Likewise, zeaxanthin and lutein also help to protect the retina and the lens.
Brain Health Boost
When it comes to brain health, carrots are your go-to superfood. Luteolin is a flavonoid with antioxidant properties that helps boost memory and prevents cognitive decline.
Immune System Benefits
There are two vitamins in carrots that can make a big difference in the function of the immune system.
Vitamin A can help to boost the body’s defense system by helping to regenerate new cells. Vitamin C builds antibodies that help to defend the immune system. It also helps the body absorb iron which can prevent infections.
Helps to Strengthen Bones
Carrots are packed with vitamin K and calcium which help keep your bones strong and healthy for years to come!
Vitamin A and beta-carotene are known to fight inflammation. Along with the antioxidant luteolin, carrots are a good food to reduce inflammation!
For those with high cholesterol, carrots are a great choice to help bring it down. The antioxidant phenolic aids in maintaining a balanced level of cholesterol.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Those looking to regulate their blood pressure levels will be pleased to know that carrots are a great choice!
Potassium keeps the blood pressure level, and helps to balance the sodium levels within the blood.
Helps to Control Diabetes
Fiber aids in controlling sugar levels within the body. For diabetics, this is important to know! Other vitamins that help reduce the risk of diabetes are vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Reduced Cancer Risk
A well-balanced diet has long been linked to a reduction in the risk of cancer. This superfood is no exception!
Antioxidants have free radicals which have been proven to reduce your risk of cancer. Carrots have two main types of antioxidants, carotenoids and anthocyanins. They also have the vitamin lycopene, which has been shown to help fight cancer.
Other Carrot Benefits
Did you know that one carrot has only 25 calories? That makes this root vegetable a great choice for a low-calorie snack. Carrots also have lots of fiber which has been shown to aid in weight loss. Since the carrot is 88% water-based, you’ll feel full longer without the added calories!
May Promote Hair Growth
What are the carrot benefits for hair? With vitamins A and C, carotenoids, potassium, and other antioxidants, your hair will be stimulated for increased healthy growth.
Increase Your Carrot Intake!
Now that you’ve learned how carrots can benefit your health, you might be asking how you can increase your consumption of them without growing bored.
The good news is carrots are one of the most versatile vegetables available! Try a few of these suggestions to incorporate more carrots into your diet for a healthy snack.
Tip: Vary the ways you eat your carrots. Raw carrots have a lower glycemic index and more vitamin C, while cooked carrots make the antioxidants easier to absorb.
Eat Them Raw
Are raw carrots good for you? Absolutely! There’s never a need to cook your carrots if you don’t want to.
Before you eat any vegetable raw, you’ll want to be sure to wash them thoroughly. While some grocery stores or manufacturers will pre-wash their produce, not all do. You don’t want to eat a carrot that’s still covered in dirt!
Next, you can peel and eat it as is. Or don’t bother to peel it. Although the outside might look odd, there’s nothing wrong with eating the outer layer of the carrot.
Mix up the flavor by dipping your raw carrots in hummus spread or guacamole for a healthy snack. You can also add them to salads or slaws.
Do you own a juicer? Feed your carrots through your juicer for some fresh carrot juice!
Eat Them Cooked
Once more, there is no wrong way to eat a carrot, even when cooked! Choose your favorite way to cook them, whether it be steamed, boiled, or roasted.
Serve your cooked carrots as a side dish or include them as part of a main dish such as soups, stews, or stir fry!
Looking for a yummy roasted carrots recipe? Try roasting them in the oven. Begin by chopping them into smaller pieces and tossing them with some extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and bake in your oven at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Cook them to your desired softness and toss a handful of parmesan cheese to melt on top once you’ve taken them out of the oven!
Another way you can eat your carrots is as a dessert! Carrots are already sweet, so adding them to a yummy dessert will only enhance that sweetness. Try making a carrot cake or carrot cookies to meet your daily intake of carrots.
Little Known Facts About the Carrot
Carrots are considered a superfood and have a reputation for being the “perfect health food,” making this a healthy snack for the whole family.
In Ancient Rome, carrots were used both as an aphrodisiac and an antidote to snake bites.
Worldwide, the United States, China, Russia, and Uzbekistan are the largest producers of carrots.
Enjoy the (Delicious) Health Benefits of Carrots
Now that you know the health benefits of carrots, you can aim to include them in your daily diet for a healthy snack! How will you eat your carrots today?
To find more information about carrots, visit the Carrot Page on our website for more blog posts.