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Carrots 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Carrots Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Source: Healthline
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 (1Trusted Source).

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.

This article tells you everything you need to know about carrots.

Nutrition facts

Carrots’ water content ranges from 86–95%, and the edible portion consists of around 10% carbs (1Trusted Source2Trusted Source).

Carrots contain very little fat and protein (3Trusted Source).

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

Carbs

Carrots are mainly composed of water and carbs.

The carbs consist of starch and sugars, such as sucrose and glucose (1Trusted Source).

They are also a relatively good source of fiber, with one medium-sized carrot (61 grams) providing 2 grams.

Carrots often rank low on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar after a meal.

Their GI ranges from 16–60 — lowest for raw carrots, a little higher for cooked ones, and highest for puréed (45Trusted Source).

Eating low-glycemic foods is linked to numerous health benefits and considered particularly beneficial for people with diabetes (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source).

Fiber

Pectin is the main form of soluble fiber in carrots (8).

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 (9Trusted Source10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

What’s more, certain soluble fibers can impair the absorption of cholesterol from your digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol (12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

The main insoluble fibers in carrots are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Insoluble fibers may reduce your risk of constipation and promote regular bowel movements (1Trusted Source14).

SUMMARY

Carrots are about 10% carbs, consisting of starch, fiber, and simple sugars. They are extremely low in fat and protein.

Vitamins and minerals

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 (16Trusted Source).
  • Vitamin K1: Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health (17Trusted Source18).
  • 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.

SUMMARY

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. They are also a good source of several B vitamins, as well as vitamin K and potassium.

Other plant compounds

Carrots offer many plant compounds, including carotenoids.

These are substances with powerful antioxidant activity that have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, various degenerative ailments, and certain types of cancer (1Trusted Source).

Beta carotene, the main carotene in carrots, can be converted into vitamin A in your body.

However, this conversion process may vary by individual. Eating fat with carrots can help you absorb more of the beta carotene (19Trusted Source).

The main plant compounds in carrots are:

  • Beta carotene: Orange carrots are very high in beta carotene. The absorption is better (up to 6.5-fold) if the carrots are cooked (20Trusted Source21Trusted Source22Trusted Source).
  • 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 (23Trusted Source).
  • 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 (24Trusted Source).
  • Polyacetylenes: Recent research has identified bioactive compounds in carrots that may help protect against leukemia and other cancers (1Trusted Source25Trusted Source26Trusted Source).
  • Anthocyanins: These are powerful antioxidants found in dark-colored carrots.

SUMMARY

Carrots are a great source of many plant compounds, especially carotenoids, such as beta carotene and lutein.

What medicinal benefits do you enjoy about carrots? Why? How is this relevant to your health and diet?

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