Are carrots good for you?
Carrots (Daucus carota) are considered one of the most nutritious and most consumed root vegetable in history. Whether eaten raw, cooked, fermented, or juiced, they taste great, and their vibrant color makes food more attractive and difficult to resist. So, are carrots good for you? And why so?
Carrots come in different colors, including white, yellow, red, orange, and purple. However, orange carrots are the best-known and commonly consumed.
They get their color from beta-carotene, one of the carotenoid antioxidants and a precursor for the active form of vitamin A.
Beta-carotene is also the active compound behind most carrot benefits, including improved vision, strengthened immunity, and improved skin health.
This article tells you everything you need to know about carrots.
A cup of raw chopped carrots contains:
- Calories: 52.5
- Protein: 1.2 grams
- Carbohydrates:12.3 grams
- Fiber:3.6 grams, or 14 percent of the daily requirement
- Sugar:6.1 grams
- Vitamins A:21383 IU or 428 percent of the daily requirement
- K:16.9 mcg, or 21 percent of the daily requirement
- C: 7.6 mg, or 13 percent of the daily requirement
- B6: 0.2 mg or 9 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium:410 mg, or 12 percent of the daily requirement
- Thiamine: 0.1 mg, or 6 percent of the daily requirement
- Niacin: 24.3 mcg, or 6 percent of the daily requirement
- Manganese: 0.2 mg, or 9 percent of the daily requirement
Health benefits Of carrots:
Carrots also contain other health-beneficial compounds such as alpha-carotene, lutein, lycopene, anthocyanins, and polyacetylenes.
Other nutrients such as vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and copper can also be found in carrots but in minimal amounts.
In addition, they are rich in water which occupies 86-97 percent of the carrot while about 10 percent consists of fiber.
If taking carrot juice, these parameters may be slightly different. For instance, carrot juice is slightly high in carbohydrates but with a high concentration of vitamins A, B6, C, K, and potassium.
Carrots are an excellent dietary inclusion for different reasons, including:
1. They may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; however, eating deep-colored vegetables such as carrots may help lower your risk.
According to research, consuming carrot juice increases the body’s antioxidant defense while reducing oxidative stress regardless of other cardiovascular risks.
Carrots also contain alpha-carotene, another type of carotenoid present in colored vegetables. It acts as an antioxidant, fighting inflammation and preventing the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL), which may lead to atherosclerosis.
In addition, carrots contain a type of soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin may bind to cholesterol and promote its elimination.
2. Promotes eye health
This is probably the most well-known benefit of carrots. Carrots specifically contain 3-eye nutrients, namely beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
They are incredible for maintaining good eyesight and night vision and promoting general eye health.
Beta carotene is especially important in preventing eye disorders such as macular degeneration (MAD) and blindness, while lutein and zeaxanthin lower the risk of age-related vision loss.
Eating carrots more often can also help you lower the risk of cataracts.
Whether you eat raw carrots or drink carrot juice, they all offer the same eye benefits and can help keep your eyes healthy throughout the years.
3. Reduce the risk of cancer
A diet high in carotenoids may protect against various cancers, including breast, colon, stomach, and prostate cancers.
In one study, high levels of carotenoids in the body were shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
According to another study, a high dietary beta-carotene intake may lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
4. Promotes brain health and protects against cognitive impairment
Antioxidants in carrots can neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, which may weaken nerve signaling and impair cognitive functions. This will help protect against age-related cognitive impairment, such as in Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Promotes skin health and wound healing
Carrots have been used to promote wound healing for centuries, thanks to their high levels of beta-carotene. They fight infections, reduce inflammation, and increase your ability to heal faster.
Carrot juice is also a common remedy for glowing and healthy skin. Besides, carrot-based skincare products, such as lotions, clearly show carrots are pretty good for the skin.
Other compounds in carrots that promote healthy skin include lutein lycopene.
6. They are rich in antioxidants
An antioxidant is a compound that can prevent or slow cell damage associated with harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that form during normal metabolic processes or from external sources such as pollution. A high concentration of free radicals can cause cell damage if not neutralized, leading to mutations that may cause chronic conditions, including cancer.
Carrots contain high levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C, lutein, lycopene, polyphenols, and zeaxanthin, which work together to boost immunity and prevent oxidative damage.
7. May promote weight loss
Carrots are a low-calorie, high-fiber food that promotes fullness without too much calorie intake. This causes your body to operate at a calorie deficit, making you burn fat.
The best way to boost its ability to cause weight loss is to enjoy it raw as a snack instead of processed carbohydrates. You can also include it in salads along with other healthy foods.
So, are carrots good for you?
Carrots are great root vegetables, widely consumed all over the world. They can be consumed in multiple ways, including raw, cooked, juiced, or fermented.
They are rich in nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting compounds. The highly concentrated nutrients include beta carotene, vitamin C, K, and B6, lutein, alpha-carotene, lycopene, and zeaxanthin.
Regular consumption of carrots can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, promote weight loss, enhance skin health and wound healing, improve eye health, reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, promote brain health, and prevent cognitive decline.
Other root vegetables:
- Ratalu (Ube)
- Sweet Potato
- Celery Root
- Malanga Coco
- Watermelon Radish
- Yellow Yam
- Fennel Bulbs
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