Carrots are packed with vitamin A, providing 428% of the daily recommended value in just one cup.
They contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives carrots their vibrant orange color and could help in cancer prevention.
In fact, one study revealed that for each serving of carrots per week, participants’ risk of prostate cancer decreased by 5%.
Another study showed that eating carrots may reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers as well. Compared to those who ate carrots at least once a week, smokers who did not eat carrots had a three times greater risk of developing lung cancer .
Carrots are also high in vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium .
The carrot (Daucus carota) is a root vegetable often claimed to be the perfect health food.
It is crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.
They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.
What’s more, their carotene antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
Carrots are found in many colors, including yellow, white, orange, red, and purple.
Orange carrots get their bright color from beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A.
Carrots’ water content ranges from 86–95%, and the edible portion consists of around 10% carbs.
Carrots contain very little fat and protein.
The nutrition facts for two small-to-medium raw carrots (100 grams) are:
- Calories: 41
- Water: 88%
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Carbs: 9.6 grams
- Sugar: 4.7 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
Carrots are mainly composed of water and carbs.
The carbs consist of starch and sugars, such as sucrose and glucose.
They are also a relatively good source of fiber, with one medium-sized carrot providing 2 grams.
Carrots often rank low on the glycemic index , which is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar after a meal.
Eating low-glycemic foods is linked to numerous health benefits and considered particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.
Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber in carrots .
Soluble fibers can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down your digestion of sugar and starch.
They can also feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which may lead to improved health and decreased risk of disease.
What’s more, certain soluble fibers can impair the absorption of cholesterol from your digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol.
The main insoluble fibers in carrots are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Insoluble fibers may reduce your risk of constipation and promote regular bowel movements.
Carrots are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially biotin, potassium, and vitamins A (from beta carotene), K1 (phylloquinone), and B6.
- Vitamin A: Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. This nutrient promotes good vision and is important for growth, development, and immune function (15Trusted Source).
- Biotin: A B vitamin formerly known as vitamin H, biotin plays an important role in fat and protein metabolism.
- Vitamin K1: Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health.
- Potassium: An essential mineral, potassium is important for blood pressure control.
- Vitamin B6: A group of related vitamins, B6 is involved in the conversion of food into energy.
Below are some ways in which carrots can support health.
- Can carrots help you see in the dark? In a way, yes.
- Carrots contain vitamin A, and a vitamin A deficiency may result in xerophthalmia, a progressive eye disease. Xerophthalmia can cause night blindness or difficulty seeing when levels of light are low.
- According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, a lack of vitamin A is one of the main preventable causes of blindness in children.
- So, in a way, carrots can help you see in the dark.
- However, most people’s vision is unlikely to improve from eating carrots, unless they have a vitamin A deficiency.
- Carrots also contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and the combination of the two may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a type of vision loss.
- Too many free radicals in the body may increase the risk of various types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
- The antioxidant effects of dietary carotenoids — yellow, orange, and red organic pigments present in carrots and other vegetables — may reduce this risk. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two examples of these carotenoids.
- One medium-sized raw carrot, weighing 61 grams (g), contains 509 micrograms (mcg) RAE of vitamin A.
- It also provides 5,050 mcg of beta carotene and 2,120 mcg of alpha carotene[YB2] , two provitamin A antioxidants that the body can convert into more vitamin A, as needed.
- According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, female adults need to consume at least 700 mcg RAE of vitamin A each day, while male adults need at least 900 mcg RAE.
- Earlier, a 2008 meta-analysis indicated that participants with high intakes of various carotenoids had a 21% lower risk of lung cancer, after adjusting for smoking, than participants in control groups.
- Consuming more carotenoid-rich foods may lower the risk of colon cancer, according to 2014 research that included data from 893 people.
- The findings of a study published the following year suggest that people who consume a high-fiber diet have a lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who consume little fiber.
- A medium carrot contains 1.7 g of fiber, or between 5% and 7.6% of a person’s daily needs, depending on their age and sex. Meanwhile, 1 cup of chopped carrots provides 3.58 g of fiber.
- Overall, this makes a carrot a low-calorie, high-fiber food that is relatively low in sugar. For this reason, it scores low on the glycemic index (GI). This index can help people with diabetes understand which foods are likely to raise their blood sugar levels.
- Boiled carrots have a GI score of around 39. This means that they are unlikely to trigger a blood sugar spike and are safe for people with diabetes to eat.
- Meanwhile, authors of a 2018 review concluded that consuming a high-fiber diet may help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. High-fiber foods may also help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
Blood pressure and cardiovascular health
- The fiber and potassium in carrots may help manage blood pressure.
- The American Heart Association (AHA) encourage people to add less salt, or sodium, to meals, while eating more foods that contain potassium, such as carrots. Potassium helps relax the blood vessels, reducing the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.
- One medium carrot provides around 4% of a person’s daily requirement of potassium.
- Meanwhile, a 2017 review concluded that people with a high fiber intake are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people who eat little fiber. Eating plenty of fiber may also help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol in the blood.
Immune function and healing
- Another antioxidant that carrots provide is vitamin C.
- Vitamin C contributes to collagen production. Collagen is a key component of connective tissue and essential for wound healing and keeping the body healthy.
- The vitamin is also present in immune cells, which help the body fight disease. A healthy immune system may prevent a range of diseases, including cancer, according to a 2017 study.
- If a person is unwell, the immune system has to work harder, and this may compromise vitamin C levels.
- Some experts believe that taking additional vitamin C may boost the immune system’s function when it is under stress. Consuming vitamin C may, for example, slightly reduce the severity and duration of a cold.
- Carrots contain vitamin K and small amounts of calcium and phosphorus. All of these contribute to bone health and may help prevent osteoporosis.