The carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) is a tasty root vegetable that is good for you because it contains fiber, vitamins, and other healthy plant nutrients. Eating carrots raw, blanched, or in a nutritious meal can benefit your health in general. In fact, research has shown that carrots are good for your eyesight, heart, skin, and may even help you lose weight.
Drinking carrot juice can also benefit your health because it contains a large amount of vitamin A, C, and some B-group vitamins. Because carrots are a good source of antioxidants, a glass of carrot juice can give you a concentrated amount of healthy nutrients.
Although we tend to think of carrots as an orange vegetable, carrots come in various colors such as purple, red, yellow, and white.
Orange carrots get their color from the high levels of beta-carotene. Purple carrots may be even better for you because they also contain beta-carotene as well as anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants.
In this article, you will learn about the many reasons why eating carrots every day can be good for you. You will also find out if there is such a thing as consuming too many carrots. At the end of the article, you will find out how cooking affects the nutrient content of carrots.
Nutritional Value of Carrots
The carrot is a highly nutritious vegetable that is loaded with fiber and antioxidants. The nutritional value of a carrot is fairly impressive, especially as carrots contain very little fat.
Let’s look in more detail at the main nutrients you get from eating a carrot.
Carbs in carrots
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium carrot (61 g) contains 5.8 g of total carbohydrates. From this, 1.7 g is healthy dietary fiber which means that the net carbs in one carrot are only 4.1 grams.
The other carbohydrates in a medium carrot are sugars (2.9 g) and starch (0.9 g). The weight of carrots is mostly water which accounts for nearly 90% of their weight.
Fiber in carrots
As already mentioned, carrots are good for you because they contain a lot of dietary fiber (1.7 grams of fiber in one medium carrot). A cup of chopped raw carrots (128 g) contains 3.6 grams of fiber. This is about 14% of your recommended daily needs (RDI).
Although carrots are a sweet vegetable and contain sucrose, glucose, and fructose, their fiber content means their sugars are released slowly in your body. So, carrots can be eaten by diabetics and are a great healthy snack if you are trying to lose weight.
Calories in carrots
There are 25 calories in a medium-size carrot. Gram for gram, there are actually more calories in fully-grown carrots than baby carrots. For example, a serving of baby carrots (85 g) only has 30 calories whereas the same serving of carrots has 35 calories.
Vitamins in carrots
One of the most impressive nutritional benefits of eating a carrot is their vitamin A content. Vitamin A is necessary for good eyesight, healthy immune system, and good organ function.
Eating a raw carrot will give you a massive 10,190 IU of vitamin A which is double your RDI.
Carrots also contain good amounts of vitamin C, K, and B-group vitamins. There is also some vitamin E in carrots.
This means that carrots are an important source of antioxidants that can help to keep your body healthy and free from disease. (5) Vitamin K is also necessary for healthy blood and bones.
Other plant nutrients in carrots
Carrots have many other nutrients that are good for you.
Beta-carotene. The main nutrient in orange, red, and purple carrots is beta-carotene. This orange-pigment converts into vitamin A and is important for your general health.
Lycopene. This red-colored phytochemical is found in red carrots and helps protect cells from DNA damage. Researchers have found that red carrots can be a good alternative to tomatoes as they provide both lycopene and beta-carotene.
Anthocyanins. This antioxidant is found in dark and purple-colored vegetables and fruits. Research has found that fresh foods rich in anthocyanins can help protect against numerous diseases.
Carrots also contain important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus.
Health Benefits of Carrots
Let’s look in more detail at why carrots are good for you and why drinking carrot juice is good for your health.
Carrots May Help Prevent Cancer
The fact that orange, purple, and red carrots are packed with antioxidants means that they may reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that has been linked to lower risk of certain cancers. For example, researchers have found that a diet rich in beta-carotene and lycopene can help protect against prostate cancer.
Yellow carrots contain good amounts of the plant nutrients lutein and beta-carotene. Studies have shown that lutein helps protect men and women from colon cancer.
The high vitamin A content in carrots can also help reduce your risk of gastric cancer.
A 2018 meta-analysis published in the journal Medicine found that eating carrots and other foods rich in beta-carotene and vitamins can reduce the risk of breast cancer.