6 Impressive Health Benefits Of Carrots, Nutrition, Diet & Risks 2022

Sevginur Akdas

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Dr G. Michael DiLeo, MD

benefits of carrots

Each of us watched Bugs Bunny while we were kids unaware that carrots have benefits for eye and brain health. 

Carrot is one of the well-known and commonly used[1] multi-nutritional veggies. The cultivated carrot (Daucus carota) is a very important food source for us because it can be consumed as fresh, processed, in meals, in salads, or as a snack in a healthy diet. 

The potential nutritional benefits of carrots come from dietary carotenoids, vitamins, and antioxidants. Let’s explore what carrots are good for what.

6 Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Carrots

Carrots are a well-known root vegetable that each of us consumes in our daily diets. Here are the six best health benefits of eating carrots.

  1. Improve cardiovascular health
  2. Boost immune system and prevent cancer
  3. Improve digestive system
  4. Good for people with diabetes
  5. Improve eye and brain health
  6. Improve skin and bone health

Health Benefits of Carrots

Each of the different components contained in the carrot is beneficial for a different system in the body. These effects cover a wide range of effects, from cardiovascular health to brain development. For this reason, carrots can be referred to as a superfood.

Improve Cardiovascular Health

People[2] who eat carrots in their daily diet have a reduced risk of stroke mortality. The beta-carotene content of carrots acts against[3] heart disease or other chronic diseases that have cardiovascular outcomes, such as obesity or metabolic syndrome[4]

Beta-carotene is also a strong agent to lower cholesterol.

Also, beta-carotene has beneficial effects[5] to delay arterial stiffness known as atherosclerosis[6], and provide vascular health. Because it reduces body fat production in the liver.

A recent study[7] showed that beta-carotene lowers all-cause mortality or related diseases according to results obtained from 29103 men with different diseases. These reported outcomes make carrots an important cardiovascular supporter for us.

Boost Immune System And Prevent Cancer

Carrots offer strong immune cell function through their antioxidant properties. It was shown that drinking carrot juice significantly increased[8] blood antioxidant levels. 

Beta-carotene reduced[9] oxidative stress due to the infection. Research also suggests that eating carrots may prevent cancer development. 

According to data obtained from 13747 women[10], dietary carrot consumption decreased breast cancer risk. 

Also, there is much research[11] systematically reviewed indicating high beta-carotene levels related to reduced gastric cancer risk.

However, as is in all ongoing research, there are conflicting data as well. The Women’s Health Research[12] in 39876 women concluded there were no significant beneficial effects of beta-carotene supplementation on cancer incidence. 

It can be concluded that the carrot, among vegetables, may have a higher beneficial effect from the specific molecules carrots contain. 

Improve Digestive System

Dietary fiber is essential for digestive health. For a healthy gastrointestinal tract and regular bowel movements, daily diets need to contain fiber of at least 20 g for women and 30 g for men[13]

Carrots provide dietary fiber along with other beneficial compounds. Carrot-derived polysaccharides improve[14] gut health by supporting gut barrier integrity but also reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. 

Good For People With Diabetes

Obese people, while having the same amount of beta-carotene in their bodies as healthy adults, have a lower[15] level of beta-carotene in their fat cells. Furthermore, when these obese subjects normalized their high blood lipid levels, the reduced levels of beta-carotene increased. 

Carrots make possible a higher level of beta-carotene in the blood. A meta-analysis study[16] showed that high beta-carotene levels in blood correlate with reduced incidence of metabolic syndrome. Increasing carotenoid levels in obese children[17] was found to help weight loss.

Beta-carotene[18] had beneficial effects on blood insulin and blood sugar level in type 2 diabetes patients. 

Improve Eye And Brain Health

During pregnancy[19] vitamin A is very important in fetal development, especially in the eye and brain. 

For this reason, the mother should focus on the consumption of foods containing vitamin A and beta-carotene in her. 

The reproductive health benefits of vitamin A and beta-carotene should also be mentioned. In a mouse model study, beta-carotene provided[20] better uterine recovery after delivery by decreasing inflammation, a benefit assumed to extend systemically to the entire body, crucial in healing after such a major physiologic event.

An important study[21], conducted in 2021, explored the effects of beta-carotene on autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Although it was an animal study, the results indicated that oral administration of beta-carotene after birth to newborns–of families with autism risk–may prevent ASD or improve autistic symptoms were it to occur.

Improve Skin And Bone Health

Animal models showed[22] that topical treatment with extract of carrot root supports wound healing by decreasing wound area and healing period. This makes sense, given the potent anti-inflammatory nature of carrots.

Carrot seed extract can be used for[23] cosmetic applications. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit skin complexion for a more youthful effect in skin cells.

In bone, carrots. by decreasing the pro-inflammatory signals via beta-carotene, prevents[24] bone resorption

Nutrition Facts

1 medium raw carrot includes 25 calories. Here are some macro and micronutrients[25] that 1 medium carrot has, based on the documented daily value (DV%):

  • 5.8 g carbohydrate (2%)
  • 0.6 g protein (1%)
  • 1.71 g fiber (6%)
  • 42 mg sodium (2%)
  • 195 mg potassium (4%)
  • 509 mcg Vitamin A (57%)
  • 3.6 mg Vitamin C (4%)
  • 0.4 mg Vitamin E (3%)
  • 0.084 mg Vitamin B6 (5%)

Special chemicals present in carrots are responsible for the many health benefits of carrots. These are carotenoids, vitamin C, and other specific chemicals like phenols.

Beta-Carotene

The carotenoids are responsible[26] for cultivated carrots’ yellow, red, orange, or purple colors. 

Interestingly, carotenoids are named after carrots, because carrot roots contain important amounts of them. Higher concentrations of carotenoids are what make carrots seem more purple or orange.

Beta-carotene is nearly 80% of the total carotenoid amounts[27] that carrot root contains. Generally, 16 to 38 mg of carotenoids are in a medium carrot. 

The beta-carotene from orange and purple carrots is the carotenoid most studied in medicine. Beta-carotene, derived from plants like carrots is the major source of provitamin A, the precursor to vitamin A. 

Vitamin A is an essential[28] vitamin for immune health, skin cell function, and eye health. In the human body, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are converted into the active vitamin A form known as retinol.

Lutein

Another major carotenoid is lutein. Yellow carrots are the main source of lutein[29] that accumulates in the retina, which contains the macula (center of visual acuity). Lutein[30] and its forms are carotenoids that are transported in large quantities to the macula and lens. 

One macula function is to adjust vision from lighted conditions to low light conditions (dark adaptation)[31]. As such, deterioration of night vision may be the first indication of macular degeneration. This is why carrots have a beneficial role in night blindness and age-related macular degeneration. 

Also, since lutein filters blue light, carrots can protect the eye from harmful blue light that many of us have to face using our electronic devices.

Lutein is also important to brain health. Lutein amounts are two times higher in children’s brains than in adults. Therefore, carrots seem to be essential for eye and brain growth[32] in babies.

Polyphenols

Phenolic species have numerous health benefits on health, like the prevention of cancers, supporting cardiovascular health, boosting immune function, improving skin health, and reducing the risk of neurologic diseases[33].

Vitamin C

The differences between carrot cultivars are responsible for the content of vitamin C. Darker orange carrots have higher vitamin C levels–4 times higher than lighter orange, yellow, or purple carrots. 

Vitamin C is very important for gum health, skin health, bone, and joint health, as it plays a role in collagen synthesis. It is also a very powerful antioxidant that you can obtain from your daily diet. 

Potential Risks

Some people may have a carrot allergy. If you have pollen allergies, you may tend to have some specific food or vegetable allergies, too. 

On the flip side of the coin, too much blood carotenoid may lead to hypercarotenemia, when the skin color changes to orange/yellow.

Adding Carrots To Your Diet

Carrots are an important part of a balanced diet. 

Since raw carrots have a lower glycemic index, if you have diabetes you should choose raw carrots over cooked carrots. Also, the allergenicity of carrots decreases when you cook. 

You can get the benefits of carrot juice spiced with ginger, cinnamon, or other functional spices to boost your immunity in winter. It is thought that there are benefits of carrot juice on empty stomach such as helping digestion and improving stomach health. 

Due to the benefits described above, carrots may have such effects for sure, but there is no scientific study directly on the effects of carrot juice on an empty stomach.

In addition, carrots are compatible with many different diets, such as vegan, lectin-free, and gluten-free diets. Carrots are among the ingredients of the nutritious vegetable powders used especially in vegan diets.

Salads And Appetizers

Carrots Salads And Appetizers

By adding carrots to salads, you can enrich the salads you consume to get fiber in terms of carotenoids. However, you can get a nice appetizer by mixing raw or cooked carrots with yogurt.

Eating Carrot For A Snack

Carrot snack

Especially raw carrots can be a good snack with their other nutritious content along with carbohydrates. Seeing the carrot as a source of carbohydrates and balancing it with protein or fat-containing foods such as dairy products or nuts makes it a better alternative for a snack.

Flavor The Main Dishes

Carrot meals

Carrots can increase the taste and nutrition of the food, especially in meat dishes or vegetable mix dishes. Increase both your meals’ flavor and nutritional value by adding slices of carrots cut into strips.

Drink Its Juice

Carrot Juice

You can obtain drinks that will strengthen your immunity by adding the juice of carrots both alone and to other fruit juices such as orange, apple, and peach.

Healthy Carrot Chips

Healthy Carrot Chips

You can prepare healthy chips by cooking finely chopped carrots in the oven using vegetable oils and the spices you want.

The Bottom Line: Are Carrots Good For You?

Carrots are a unique source of dietary beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin A, and many other antioxidants. 

Carrots protect your heart health with antioxidant and heart-protective properties.

It contains essential ingredients for your eye health. It is especially important for brain, nerve, and eye development that takes place in infancy. 

Carrot supports immune functions with its carotenoid, flavonoid, and vitamin components. It also regulates the digestive system with its high fiber content and special polysaccharide content.

Moreover, it prevents diabetes and obesity. It helps to lose weight and can be used easily in many healthy diet approaches.


+ 33 sources

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Sevginur Akdas

Written by:

Sevginur Akdas, RD

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

Sevginur Akdas is a researcher, medical writer, and clinical dietitian, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in metabolism, chronic diseases, and clinical nutrition fields. She has many scientific articles, meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and book chapters on nutrition, chronic diseases, dietary supplements, maternal and child nutrition, molecular nutrition & functional foods topics as a part of a research team currently. Besides her academic background, she is also a professional health&medical writer since 2017.

Medically reviewed by:

Michael DiLeo

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