Originally grown in Afghanistan in 900 AD, carrots (Daucus carota) are popular root vegetables that belong to the Apiaceae family. While most of us are familiar with orange carrots, they come in various other colors such as red, purple, yellow, black and white. Find out more about the health benefits of carrots below!
An extremely versatile vegetable, carrots are tasty, sweet and have a great texture. They can be eaten raw by themselves as a snack, in salads or cooked in soups, sides and other recipes or used in sweet dishes.
Health Benefits Of Carrots
A wonderful source of beta carotene, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin K1 and fiber, carrots can be considered as the perfect health food. This tasty, crunchy and nutritious veggie has loads of health benefits too. Here is a rundown of the numerous health benefits of carrots, which make them an excellent addition to your daily diet.
Nutritional Profile Of Carrots
Below is the nutritional information for 100 grams (2 small/medium raw carrots):
- Calories: 41
- Carbs: 9.6 grams
- Sugar: 4.7 grams
- Protein: 0.9 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Water: 88%
Water, Carbs And Fiber
Carrots are mostly made up of water and carbs. They have a high water content ranging between 86% and 95% and around 10% carbs. The carbs in carrots mainly comprise sucrose and glucose.
Carrots are high in fiber and 1 medium-sized carrot provides around 2 grams of it. Carrots have a very low GI (glycemic index), ranging between 16 to 60.
Carrots contain pectin, a soluble fiber, which helps to reduce blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, the risk of gut disease and also improves gut health. They also contain insoluble fibers such as cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose that help to regulate bowel movement and reduce the risk of constipation.
Vitamins And Minerals
Carrots contain various vitamins and minerals that have several benefits, including vitamin A, K1, B6, biotin and potassium. They are rich in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by the body, essential for good vision, immune function, growth and development.
They contain biotin, which helps in the metabolism of protein and fat. Carrots also contain vitamin K1 or phylloquinone, which is essential for blood coagulation and also improves bone health and potassium, which helps in regulating blood pressure and vitamin B6.
Carrots contain carotenoids, essentially plant compounds including beta carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, anthocyanins and polyacetylenes, which are powerful antioxidants that help to reduce the risk of several illnesses and improve immune function.
Carrots: Health Benefits
As we have discussed earlier, carrots are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that offer a wealth of health benefits, including:
Improves Eye Health
Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by the body and helps to improve eye health. Beta carotene protects the eyes from the sun and reduces the risk of eye problems, such as cataracts. Carrots also contain lutein that can help to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Reduces The Risk Of Cancer
Antioxidants, particularly carotenoids, can help to fight the free radicals in the body and reduce the risk of cancer. Studies have shown that diets that are rich in carotenoids can help to protect against many forms of cancer, including stomach, colon, prostate and breast cancers.
Improves Heart Health
The antioxidants present in carrots have heart-protective properties and are good for heart health. Carrots contain potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure, keeps it in check and protects against hypertension. The fiber in carrots helps to reduce cholesterol and also the risk of heart disease.
Carrots contain vitamin C, which helps the body to build antibodies that defend the immune system. Vitamin C also helps to increase iron absorption by the body, which in turn, helps to prevent infections.
Carrots are loaded with antioxidants, which are an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet. The vitamin A, beta carotene, luteolin and fiber in the carrot help to fight inflammation and prevent chronic diseases. The anti-inflammatory properties of the luteolin in carrots can also help to prevent cancers.
Helps To Lose Weight
Carrots are low in calories and rich in fiber, which helps to increase fullness and in turn, reduces the number of calories you consume in the following meals. When eaten as a whole, the high water content and fiber in carrots help to curb your appetite. And, this may be the main reason why carrots are considered a great inclusion to your meals if you’re on a weight loss diet.
Helps To Control Diabetes
Usually, people suffering from diabetes are recommended to focus on non-starchy vegetables in their diet, which include carrots. Carrots are rich in fiber, which helps to control blood sugar levels. Further, carrots are packed with beta carotene and vitamin A, which can help to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Eating raw carrots can help to prevent constipation and keep your bowel movements regular, thanks to the high fiber content in the vegetable.
Supports Gut Health
Studies show that the fiber in carrots is highly fermentable and plays a prebiotic role, which is a good source of food for gut-friendly bacteria. These bacteria are a source of short-chain fatty acids that are beneficial for the gut and overall health.
Carrots contain calcium and vitamin K, which help to strengthen bones and improve bone health.
Improves Skin Health
As we already know, carrots contain carotenoids including lycopene, biotin and retinol, all of which are great for skin health. Eating carrots can help to improve your skin, heal wounds and achieve softer, healthier and glowing skin.
Health Benefits Of Carrots: Summing Up
In conclusion, the carrot may be a small vegetable, but it packs a mighty punch in terms of the nutritional and health benefits it offers. Low in calories, loaded with nutrients, sweet, tasty and crunchy, carrots come in different colors and sizes.
Improved eye, heart and gut health and weight loss, all these impressive benefits of this little orange veggie make carrots a fantastic addition to your daily vegan diet.