The carrot is a root vegetable, orange in color, but can be found in other colors such as purple, black, red, white, and yellow. Carrots were first used for medicine in Asia over 3,000 years ago. Carrots were first grown in Afghanistan about 1000 years ago for eating. Later the Carrots cultivation spread to Spain in the 1100s by way of the Middle East and North Africa.
Carrots are rich in C, A, E, K, and various B vitamins, minerals, fiber, and traces of iron. They are also a good source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are nutrients present in plant-based foods. They help the body remove free radicals — p- unstable molecules that can cause cell damage if too many accumulate in the body.
Free radicals result from natural processes and environmental pressures. The body can eliminate many free radicals naturally, but dietary antioxidants can help, especially when the oxidant load is high.
They’re good for your eyes. This is probably the best-known carrot superpower. They’re rich in beta-carotene, a compound your body changes into vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy. And beta-carotene helps protect your eyes from the sun and lowers your chances of cataracts and other eye problems.
Yellow carrots have lutein, which is also good for your eyes. Studies have found that it can help with or prevent age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S.
They can lower your risk of cancer. Antioxidants have been proven to fight off harmful free radicals in your body, and that can make you less likely to have cancer. The two main types of antioxidants in carrots are carotenoids and anthocyanins. Carotenoids give carrots their orange and yellow colors, while anthocyanins are responsible for red and purple coloring.
They help your heart. First, all those antioxidants are also good for your heart. Second, the potassium in carrots can help keep your blood pressure in check. And third, they have fiber, which can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your chances of heart disease.
Red carrots also have lycopene, which helps prevent heart disease.
They boost your immune system. The vitamin C in carrots helps your body build antibodies that defend your immune system. Vitamin C also helps your body take in and use iron and prevent infections.
They can help with constipation. If you’re having trouble going to the bathroom, try munching on some raw carrots. With their high fiber content, they can help ease constipation and keep you regular.
They can help control diabetes. People with diabetes are advised to load up on non-starchy vegetables, including carrots. The fiber in carrots can help keep blood sugar levels under control. And they’re loaded with vitamin A and beta-carotene, which there’s evidence to suggest can lower your diabetes risk.
They can strengthen your bones. Carrots have calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health.
Tips for Carrots
Carrots have 2 seasons for growing — the spring and fall — but they are usually available in grocery stores all year. They can be bought fresh, frozen, canned, pickled, or as juice. Carrots are best stored in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. Cut off the green tops before storing to keep the moisture and nutrients in the roots.
Carrots are a versatile vegetable. They can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, or as an ingredient in soups and stews. The main part of the plant eaten is the taproot, although the stems and leaves are also eaten. Boiling vegetables can reduce or eliminate some of the vitamin content. Raw or steamed carrots provide the most nutritional value.
Fat 0.2 grams
Carbohydrate (g) 5.8
Sugar 2.9 g
Fiber 1.7 g
Phosphorus 21.4 mg
Potassium 195 mg
Folate 11.6 mcg DFE
Beta carotene 5,050 mcg
Alpha carotene 2,120 mcg
Lutein & zeaxanthin 156 mcg
Beta carotene: orange carrots are very high in beta carotene. The absorption is better (up to 6.5-fold) if the carrots are cooked.
Alpha-carotene: An antioxidant that, like beta carotene, is partly converted into vitamin A in your body.
Lutein: One of the most common antioxidants in carrots, lutein is predominantly found in yellow and orange carrots and is important for eye health.
Lycopene: A bright red antioxidant found in many red fruits and vegetables, including red and purple carrots, lycopene may decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Polyacetylenes: Recent research has identified bioactive compounds in carrots that may help protect against leukemia and other cancers.
Anthocyanins: These are powerful antioxidants found in dark-colored carrots.