Health Benefits of Carrots (2024)

What Are Carrots?

Carrots are root vegetables that were first grown in Afghanistan around 900 AD. Orange may be their best-known color, but they also come in other hues, including purple, yellow, red, and white. Early carrots were purple or yellow. Orange carrots were developed in Central Europe around the 15th or 16th century.

This popular and versatile veggie may taste slightly different depending on the color, size, and where it's grown. The sugar in carrots gives them a slightly sweet flavor, but they can taste earthy or bitter.

Organic vs. nonorganic carrots

Organic carrots are grown using natural fertilizers and are less likely to have pesticide residues because they’re protected against pests and diseases using mechanical and biological methods.

On the other hand, nonorganic carrots are conventionally grown and treated with pesticides to prevent pest infestations and diseases, potentially leaving behind residues of these chemicals.

Carrot Varieties

Carrots come in several varieties. You can tell them apart by the shape, color, and length of the root, which is the part most people eat. The most common varieties include:

  • Imperator carrots: They are long, with a tapered tip and small shoulders (the part near the green tops).
  • Nantes carrots: These are of medium length and have a blunt tip. They are popular with home gardeners.
  • Danvers carrots: They are large and of medium length.
  • Chantenay carrots: These are short with large shoulders.
  • Purple carrots: These are the original carrots. They are long and purple and contain antioxidants called anthocyanins that support your health by preventing blood clots, promoting muscle recovery, and more.
  • Rainbow carrots: Carrots can come in colors besides orange. Different color carrots include yellow, red, white, and purple.

Are Carrots Good for You?

Yes, carrots are good for you, as they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immunity; support heart, kidney, and liver health; and provide other health benefits, making them an excellent addition to your diet.

They're low-calorie and versatile snacks, too. You can easily add carrots to your diet for a tasty and nutritious treat, like a healthier bread or dessert.

Carrot Nutrition

One serving of carrots, which equals half a cup, contains:

  • 25 calories
  • 6 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 3 grams of sugar
  • 0.5 grams of protein

Carrots are a great source of important vitamins and minerals. A half-cup can give you up to:

  • 73% of your daily requirement of vitamin A
  • 9% of your daily vitamin K
  • 8% of your daily potassium and fiber
  • 5% of your daily vitamin C
  • 2% of your daily calcium and iron

Baby carrot calories

When you hear “baby carrot,” you may picture the peeled, perfectly cut carrots popular in party platters and lunch boxes. Each piece is around 4 calories. But there’s another, less processed type of baby carrot.

Actual baby carrots are simply carrots that are harvested before growing to full maturity. They’re about 3 to 4 inches long and resemble tiny versions of their fully grown counterparts. The baby carrots that most people know, on the other hand, are made by cutting up and shaving down broken pieces of mature carrots.

Baby carrots in a 100-gram serving contain 35 calories. These carrots are equally high in essential nutrients as regular, mature carrots, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and more.

Cooked carrots nutrition

Carrots cooked without salt, in a 100-gram serving, contain:

  • 35 calories
  • 0.8 grams of protein
  • 8.2 grams of carbohydrate
  • 0.2 grams of fat
  • 3.5 grams of sugar
  • 30 milligrams of calcium
  • 10 milligramsof magnesium
  • 30 milligramsof phosphorus
  • 235 milligramsof potassium
  • 58 milligramsof sodium

Carrot Benefits

Carrots have a wealth of antioxidants and offer many health benefits. Here are the highlights:

They may lower your risk of cancer. Carrots contain antioxidants, which have been proven to fight off harmful free radicals in your body. Free radicals damage cells, possibly contributing to cancer. The two main types of antioxidants in carrots are carotenoids and anthocyanins. Carotenoids give carrots their orange and yellow colors, while anthocyanins cause the red and purple coloring.

They help your heart. All those antioxidants are also good for your heart. The potassium in carrots also can help keep your blood pressure in check.

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. Non-starchy vegetables, including carrots, are essential parts of a healthy diet for people with diabetes. The fiber in carrots can help keep blood sugar levels under control. Loaded with vitamin A and beta carotene, carrots can lower your diabetes risk, evidence suggests.

They can strengthen your bones. Carrots have calcium and vitamin K, which are important for bone health.

They might help you lose weight. Carrots have very few calories per serving. Also, the fiber in carrots can help you feel full, so you won’t eat as much, reducing calorie intake overall and supporting weight loss.

They can help lower cholesterol. Studies have also linked eating carrots to lower cholesterol.

They are good for your teeth and gums. Think of them as nature’s toothbrush. They scrub your teeth as you chew, removing harmful plaque buildup from the enamel. They also remove surface stains, leaving you with a brighter smile.

Carrot benefits for your skin

Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, a pigment that your body changes to vitamin A. Vitamin A is a nutrient that helps maintain healthy skin, and not having enough of it increases your risk of skin problems like hyperkeratosis, a condition that causes dry, scaly skin. As an antioxidant, beta carotene may help protect the skin from sunburn and help slow down skin aging by improving elasticity, hydration, texture, wrinkles, and age spots.

Vitamin C in carrots is also important for its skin health-promoting benefits. It helps the body make collagen, a protein that supports skin structure, elasticity, strength, and cell turnover. It also protects the skin from UV damage.

Are carrots good for your eyes?

Yes, they are. A carrot’s benefit for eye health is probably its best-known superpower. Beta carotene in carrots helps keep your eyes healthy. It 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, a leading cause of vision loss in the U.S.

Risks of Carrots

In extreme cases, overeating beta carotene from carrots can keep vitamin A from doing its job and affect your vision, bones, skin, metabolism, or immune system.

Too much beta carotene also may cause problems for people who can’t change it to vitamin A, such as people who have hypothyroidism.

For some people, eating carrots can make their mouths itch. That’s called oral allergy syndrome or pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS). Your body reacts to the proteins in certain fruits and vegetables as if they were pollens you’re allergic to. You might also have a scratchy throat; itchy ears; hives in the mouth area, lips, mouth, tongue; and throat swelling. It doesn't tend to happen with cooked carrots.

Carrots can become contaminated during production and packaging, with pathogens that cause foodborne illness like salmonella, shigella, hepatitis A virus, norovirus, and Cyclospora cayetanensis. Thoroughly clean and cook your carrots to reduce your chances of becoming ill from eating them.

Do carrots turn you orange?

If you overeat beta carotene, it can make your skin turn an orange-yellow color. This condition is called carotenemia. It’s relatively harmless and unlikely to cause any serious problems. You can treat it by reducing how many carrots and other carotene-containing foods you eat. You can speak with a dietitian about changing your diet to treat it.

How to Store Carrots

Fresh, whole carrots can be kept fresh for up to 2 weeks in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. If the leafy green tops are still attached, trim those first. Then, store them in a plastic bag with holes in it.

How to Use Carrots

Carrots are a universal food item, most popularly grown and eaten in China, followed by the U.S. They can be a part of various popular diets, such as vegan, keto, and paleo. They also feature as a main ingredient in cuisines from around the world, including gajar ka halwa (India), morkovcha (Korea), and carrot cake (U.S.).

To prepare carrots, wash them thoroughly in water and scrub off any dirt. You can peel them with a vegetable peeler or knife if you'd like, but you don't have to.

From there, you might slice them into sticks and eat them with hummus or a yogurt-based dip. If you don't like crunchy carrots, you can steam, boil, or roast them and serve them as a side dish. They also work well in savory dishes such as beef stew, chicken pot pie, and stir-fry.

Carrot root

Carrot roots are the actual carrots people eat. They are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants,carotenoids, and dietary fiber. You can have them raw or cooked, as a snack, side dish, or juice.

Carrot top

The carrot top is the area of the carrot that has leaves. Carrot tops are a nutritious and spicy ingredient in salads like panzanella (as a substitute for parsley) or sauces like chimichurri.

Glazed carrots

Glazed carrots are a tasty and easy-to-prepare side dish. Follow these steps:

  1. Using clean hands, wash, peel, and cut 1 pound of carrots into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of margarine in a pan on low heat and add the carrots. Stir them until they're coated.
  3. Add a cup of water, plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the carrots. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the carrots are tender.
  4. Drain the water, then add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the carrots.
  5. Cover your pan and shake it on the burner for 1 minute.
  6. Finally, uncover and cook for 1 more minute until the carrots look glazed, but not brown.

How long to boil carrots

It’s best to cook carrots for the shortest time possible to preserve their nutritional value. Boiling, in particular, may lower some of the antioxidant activity in carrots and nutrients like vitamin C. But it makes it easier for the body to absorb the carotene in them.

You can boil carrots for 5-10 minutes until tender.

How to Grow Carrots

Carrot plant

Carrots thrive in well-drained and fertile soils with plenty of sunlight. Before planting, add organic matter and fertilizer to the soil you’re using. Sow the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. When seedlings have three to four true leaves, space them around 3 inches apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. Water the carrots frequently and uniformly for them to grow well. Keep an eye out for insects and diseases, and control them as needed. Harvest them when the leaves are fully grown.

How to grow carrots from carrot tops

You can grow carrots from carrot tops by cutting off the top of the carrot and regrowing only the leaves. This means the taproot, or carrot itself, can't be regrown.

You can start this process by placing a carrot top in a glass of water, allowing new fibrous roots to grow, and later moving it to soil.Once a flower grows on the carrot top, you can take its seeds and plant them to form a new carrot.

How to grow carrots in containers

While carrots need space to develop, it’s possible to grow them in pots or planters. Choose a container that is deep enough for the kind of carrot you’re planting. Follow instructions on your seed packet. Most containers will still need good compost, full sun, and regular watering to successfully grow carrots.

How long do carrots take to grow?

Carrots can take anywhere from 55 to 80 days to grow, depending on the type.

Takeaways

Carrots are a universally loved and eaten vegetable, and for good reasons. They contain many nutrients that help keep you well and are easy to add to many of your everyday meals, raw or cooked. Consuming too many carrots may cause unwanted side effects, but there's limited risk even if you eat carrots often.

Carrots FAQs

Is it good to eat carrots every day?

You can have carrots daily and as part of a healthy, balanced diet. You are unlikely to get carotenemia (turning your skin an orange-yellow color) unless you eat too many carrots and other carotene-rich foods too often.

Is chewing on carrots good for you?

Yes. Carrots can help scrub your teeth as you chew, removing harmful plaque buildup from the enamel. They also remove surface stains, leaving you with a brighter smile.

Are raw carrots better for you?

Raw carrots can be a nutritious and filling snack, and their fiber can help ease constipation. But if you eat them cooked, your body can better absorb the beta carotene in them, and it reduces your chances of getting sick from a contaminated carrot.

Health Benefits of Carrots (2024)

FAQs

Health Benefits of Carrots? ›

You can have carrots daily and as part of a healthy, balanced diet. You are unlikely to get carotenemia (turning your skin an orange-yellow color) unless you eat too many carrots and other carotene-rich foods too often. Is chewing on carrots good for you? Yes.

Is it good to eat carrots every day? ›

You can have carrots daily and as part of a healthy, balanced diet. You are unlikely to get carotenemia (turning your skin an orange-yellow color) unless you eat too many carrots and other carotene-rich foods too often. Is chewing on carrots good for you? Yes.

Are carrots healthier, raw or cooked? ›

Carrots. Raw carrots are fine, but cooked carrots are better for you. Cooking carrots allows beta carotene, an antioxidant compound that gets converted to vitamin A in the intestine, to absorb more easily in the body, explains Beckerman.

Are carrots a superfood? ›

Thanks to the number of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants packed into each carrot, many experts have elevated this humble veggie to “superfood” status. Here are some fun carrot facts to chew on. Carrots can make your skin look amazing.

What is the healthiest way to eat carrots? ›

Raw or Cooked? Both. Raw carrots can help lower blood pressure, and cooked carrots support a healthy immune system.

What is the healthiest vegetable? ›

1. Spinach. Spinach is a leafy green vegetable and a great source of calcium, vitamins, iron, and antioxidants. Due to its iron and calcium content, spinach is a great addition to any meat- or dairy-free diet.

Does carrot increase hair growth? ›

In addition to skin maintenance, carrots are a great source of nutrients for your hair as well. They are packed with vitamin A and vitamin E, both of which help improve blood circulation on your scalp. This, in turn, promotes hair growth and protects you from premature greying.

What vegetable should not be eaten raw? ›

These are the 6 vegetables that should never be consumed raw
  • Potatoes. Uncooked potatoes not only taste bad but can also lead to digestive problems. ...
  • Cruciferous Vegetables. ...
  • Red Kidney Beans. ...
  • Mushrooms. ...
  • Eggplant. ...
  • French Beans.

Which color carrot is the healthiest? ›

Orange carrots are loaded (204% of the daily value recommended per day in 1 medium) with their namesake, beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. The vitamin A in orange carrots is especially important for eye health, and was also recently identified as promoting brain health as well as other benefits.

Do carrots have a lot of sugar? ›

Unfortunately, they pack more sugar than their equally crunchy counterparts. One medium raw carrot contains nearly 5 grams of sugar and 31 calories, while a stalk of celery provides close to 0 grams (0.4, to be exact) of sugar and 7 calories. Red and green bell peppers contain less sugar than carrots, too.

Are carrots healthier than potato? ›

Because carrots are a root, they're lower in sugar and carbs than tuber vegetables like potatoes. One medium (61-gram) raw carrot provides ( 2 ): Calories: 25. Protein: 1 gram.

What is the #1 SuperFood? ›

1. Dark Leafy Greens. Dark green leafy vegetables (DGLVs) are an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.

Do carrots cleanse the gut? ›

The fiber in carrots (and any high-fiber vegetables, actually) acts like a natural vacuum cleaner in your gastrointestinal tract, picking up debris as it runs through your body. Carrots can also help keep gut cells healthy, supporting a decreased risk of illness and improving your health overall.

How to eat carrots for maximum benefits? ›

Carrots are a versatile vegetable. People can eat them raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, or as an ingredient in soups and stews. Boiling vegetables can reduce or eliminate some of the vitamin content. Raw or steamed carrots provide the most nutritional value.

Are carrots healthier than bananas? ›

Nutrition Comparison: Carrots Vs Banana

Carrot is an excellent source of Vitamin A. Carrot has 54% less calories than banana. Carrot has 58% less carbohydrates than banana. Both carrots and banana are high in dietary fiber and potassium.

What vegetables should I eat every day? ›

Healthy eating means consuming more dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy greens. Include more red or orange vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and legumes, in your diet (dry beans and peas).

Are carrots good for hormones? ›

The hormone-related health benefits of carrots may have to do with their fiber content. Since carrots are high in fiber, they can help support and improve gut health, which can indirectly aid hormonal balance. “Like most vegetables, carrots are high in fiber, which improves gut health," Forrester confirms.

Are carrots anti-inflammatory? ›

Study authors credit two potent anti-inflammatory compounds in carrots, falcarinol and falcarindiol. While both are highly active at room temperature, cooking can reduce their effectiveness by 70%. So be sure to much on your carrots raw, like in this Shredded Carrot Salad with Spiced Orange Dressing.

Is it good to eat carrots at night? ›

Carrots are the perfect healthy nighttime snack because they are convenient, flavorful, nutritious, and low in calories. You can eat as many sticks as you want, since one baby carrot contains only four calories. I have to warn you that dipping your baby carrots in hummus can add many calories.

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