Carrots: Nutrition Facts and 8 Health Benefits of Carrots

Whether or not they improve your eyesight, carrots have been a mainstay vegetable in diets all over the world for a long time. Primarily in Europe and mainland US, they have enjoyed huge popularity and are part of most forms of mixed vegetables. Carrots alone have some great benefits and this article will discuss them, letting you know why you should include them in your diet and how they might help your body.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition facts

Per 100g cooked (raw) [1]

Energy: 41 calories
Protein: 0.9g
Fat: 0.24g
Carbohydrates: 9.6g
Fiber: 2.8g
Sugars: 4.7g

Vitamins:

A: 104% RDA
B1: 6% RDA
B2: 5% RDA
B3: 7% RDA
B5: 5% RDA
B6: 11% RDA
B9: 5%
B12: nil
C: 7% RDA
D: nil
E: 4% RDA
K: 13%

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Calcium: 3% RDA
Iron: 2% RDA
Magnesium: 3% RDA
Manganese: 7% RDA
Phosphorous: 5% RDA
Potassium: 7% RDA
Zinc: 3% RDA

Health Benefits of Carrot

Carrots

1. Carrots are Great for Reducing Hunger and Staying Full

Carrots are incredibly low in calories: with only 40 calories per 100g, they manifest less than 5% of the possible calorie content of 100g of food. This makes carrots a great choice for those who are looking to lose weight: they are satiating because you can eat a lot of carrots and get full without consuming many calories. Especially when combined with other vegetables, carrots are a great way to fill up on nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse foods and reduce hunger.

2. Carbohydrate Profile: Good Fiber, Unusually High Sugar!

Whilst they are generally low in everything, including carbohydrates, carrots are an unusually sweet, high-sugar tuber. Unlike their distant cousins the potato, taro or turnip, the carrot contains around 4.5g of sugar for every 100g of food. They also contain around 3g of dietary fibre, balancing out the negative effects of the sugars, in some areas such as blood sugar and insulin response. Overall, this does not mean we should not eat the carrot, simply that those who are diabetic or on a low-sugar diet may benefit from choosing other foods or simply watching their carrot intake.

3. Carrots Reduce Cholesterol

Whilst the exact mechanism is inconclusive, the consumption of raw carrot has been shown to have a host of different digestive and blood effects that are beneficial in longevity and disease prevention. The most interesting of these is the reduction in “bad” cholesterol found in the blood, meaning that carrots are beneficial in reducing the odds of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, one study showed that the reductions were as significant as an 11% reduction in blood-cholesterol, significantly lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack [2].

4. Carotenoids in Carrots Protect The Eye and Cell Damage

eye care

Carotenoids are included in many foods with a red-orange colour, as they are both a nutrient and a form of pigment. Carotenoids are vitamin A analogues that have profound anti-oxidant effects, reducing the chance of developing serious diseases (from cancer to cardiovascular disease and many others) and improve general wellness [3].

Carotenoids, and beta-carotene in particular, are associated with the improved eyesight for which carrots are renowned. Whilst they will not actively improve the eyesight of those who are already healthy, deficiency in carotenoids can be associated with oxidative damage to the tissues of the outer eye and the development of cataracts [4]. With over 77% of the necessary quantity of Carotenoids, carrots might not make you see in the dark, but they’ll protect you against serious degenerative eye conditions!

5. Vitamin A in Carrots Bolsters Immune Function

As a result of the high B-Carotene content, Carrots are high in Vitamin A. Beyond the effects on eyesight, vitamin A is an essential actor in the maintenance of proper immune system function and has been associated with preventive effects on a wide array of serious health conditions [5]. Vitamin A also has positive effects on the health of the skin and all forms of vitamin A have novel antioxidant effects. 100g of carrots contains over 100% of the daily recommended dose for vitamin A, earning their place as one of the most commonly consumed vegetables in the world.

6. Support Proper Blood Health and Protein Metabolism

Carrots Health Benefits

Vitamin K is essential for the proper development of various proteins and is also important for processes of the red blood cell. Carrots contain around 15% of the necessary daily Vitamin K, meaning that they can seriously contribute to proper blood health. Vitamin K (in both K1 and K2 forms) have interesting effects on the intestinal environment by improving the respiratory processes of bacteria in the gut. Whilst this may sound like a good way to give yourself an infection, it is actually beneficial to improving the balance of “good” to “bad” bacteria in the body [6].

7. Vitamin B6 in Carrots Improves Nutrient Uptake

As mentioned in our articles on other tubers (such as sweet potatoes and taro), B6 is an essential vitamin for the proper processing of food and the extraction of nutrients. This makes carrots even more appealing, especially when we combine them with other nutrient-dense foods in a diet to maximize the quantity and quality of nutrients we are getting. Carrots are, therefore, a great supplement to a diet that is already high in nutrient-dense foods – there may be synergistic effects between the consumption of vitamins K and B6, as both of these foods work to improve the environment of the intestine and the body’s ability to digest and metabolize food.

8. Carrots Bolster Enzyme Function in Humans

B6 is also important for the effects that it has on the production, circulation and function of enzymes within the body. Whilst it is not as universal as magnesium, B6 is involved in over 100 enzyme interactions in the body [7], making it an essential part of the way that our body does everything. Enzymes are essential for a wide variety of different, essential biological processes and an improved dietary intake of B6 will mean an improved enzyme profile.

Closing Remarks

Whilst many people want you to believe that carrots are some sort of superfood, the fact is that they really aren’t. Whilst the benefits mentioned above are considerable, they shouldn’t be exaggerated: the carrot is high in some essential vitamins and minerals, but it is primarily a low-calorie “filler” food associated with dieting. The carrot has some great benefits and it should be part of everyone’s diet at some point, but it is one of many plant foods that have similar benefits. Our recommendation is to include the carrot in your diet for its anti-oxidant effects, low calorie content and the important role it plays in improving the use of other nutrients in the body – but don’t expect too much of the humble carrot!

Don’t Miss : Pecans: 11 Amazing Health Benefits and Uses of Pecans

References

[1] USDA database [URL = https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2901]
[2] Robertson et al (1979): ‘the effect of raw carrot on serum lipids and colon function’. American journal of clinical nutrition, 32(9), pp.1889-1892
[3] Ames, B.N. (1989): ‘Endogenous oxidative DNA damage, aging, and cancer’. Free radical research communications, 7, pp.121-128
[4] Mayne, S.T. (1996): ‘Beta-Carotene, carotenoids and disease prevention in humans’. FASEB, 10(7), pp.690-701
[5] Mora et al (2008): ‘Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre-stage’. National review of immunology, 8(9), pp.685-698
[6] Turner et al (2003): ‘Bioactive isoflavones in functional foods: the importance of gut microflora on bioavailability’. Nutrition reviews, 61(6), pp.204-213
[7] Huskisson et al (2007): ‘The role of vitamins and minerals in energy metabolism and well-being’. The journal of international medical research, 35, pp.277-289

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