Carrots benefits for health have a lot. 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. Here we are going to discuss the benefits of carrots and their side effects.
Health Benefits of Carrots
The positive health effects of carrots can be largely attributed to their carotenoid content (vitamin A). Carrots also provide a decent amount of fiber which offers its own host of benefits.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Carrots contain several phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory behaviors that help reduce the risk of heart disease. The polyphenols in carrots have been shown to increase bile secretion, which decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The fiber in carrots also assists in keeping cholesterol down. Furthermore, carrots contain about 9% of the 4,700mg recommended intake of potassium. Potassium is known to lower blood pressure levels.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Because these compounds tend to accumulate in the retina, they are particularly helpful in preventing age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss.
Regular consumption of carrots and other orange vegetables is a good way to protect your eyes against the effects of aging and environmental damage.
Improves Dental Health
A study evaluating the rate of tooth loss in an elderly Japanese population with cognitive impairment found that higher intakes of beta carotene through carrots and other vegetables such as pickled green leafy greens, raw lettuce/cabbage, green leafy vegetables, squash, and Chinese cabbage showed a protective effect against dental issues.
Consuming vegetables with beta carotene should not replace proper oral hygiene, such as lowering added sugar intake, eating sugary foods in moderation, and regularly brushing and flossing.
Prevents Cognitive Decline
The same study noting the benefits of carrots and other vegetables for tooth retention also associated this dietary pattern with cognitive benefits. Higher intakes of carrots and other nutritious veggies appear to reduce the risk of dementia. Eating cooked and raw carrots as part of an overall healthy eating habit is a proactive way to stay sharp with age.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
Vitamin A in carrots protects DNA from oxidative damage that can lead to cancer. Carrots come in many colors, including yellow, orange, red, and purple, each with various levels and types of antioxidants.
Orange carrots are high in beta carotene, yellow carrots in lutein, red carrots in lycopene, and purple carrots in anthocyanins. Purple carrot extract has been shown to protect colon cells against oxidative DNA damage by over 20%. The antioxidants in different colored carrots work throughout the body to help prevent cancer.
Aids Weight Loss
If you are on a weight loss diet, your diet must include foods that are high in fiber, and carrots with both soluble and insoluble fibers perfectly fit the bill. Fiber takes the longest to digest and thus promotes a feeling of fullness and prevents you from bingeing on other fattening foods.
Ensures Bowel Regularity and Helps in Digestion
The significant amount of dietary fiber in carrots plays an important role in maintaining good digestive health. Fiber makes your stool bulky which helps it pass smoothly through the digestive tract and prevents conditions like constipation.
Boosts Skin Health
The juicy red wonders can help give your skin a radiant glow too. Apart from the beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene, the high silicon content of the root can promote healthy skin and nails. To make the most of its nutrition have them raw.
61g Carrot Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 25
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 42mg
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Sugars: 2.9g
- Protein: 0.5g
- Vitamin A: 509mcg
- Vitamin K: 8mcg
A cup (128g) of chopped raw carrots has 12.3 grams of carbohydrates, with 3.6 grams of fiber and 6.1 grams of natural sugars.1 The glycemic index for boiled carrots is low, ranging from 35 to 43.
Carrots have minimal amounts of fat (nearly 0g for one medium carrot and just 0.3g for a cup of chopped carrot), the majority of which is polyunsaturated.
Carrots are not particularly high in protein. A cup of carrots has just 1.2 grams of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A—specifically beta-carotene, which is responsible for their orange color. Carrots also offer potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
One medium-sized carrot (61g) provides 25 calories, with 86% coming from carbs, 9% from protein, and 5% from fat.
Carrots Side Effects
May Cause Vitamin A Toxicity
In a case report, an individual who consumed excess carrots was hospitalized on the grounds of abdominal pain. His liver enzymes were found to have elevated to abnormally high levels. The patient has been diagnosed with a mild case of vitamin A toxicity. Levels of vitamin A up to 10,000 IU have been considered safe. Anything beyond that could be toxic. Half a cup of carrot has 459 mcg of beta-carotene, which is about 1,500 IU of vitamin A.
Vitamin A toxicity is also called hypervitaminosis A. Symptoms can include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, loss of hair, fatigue, and nose bleeding. Toxicity occurs because vitamin A is fat-soluble. Any excess vitamin A not required by the body will be stored in the liver or fat tissue. This can lead to the accumulation of vitamin A over time and eventual toxicity.
Chronic vitamin A toxicity can affect multiple organ systems. It can inhibit bone formation, leading to weaker bones and fractures. Long-term vitamin A toxicity may also affect kidney function.
Can Cause Allergies
Though carrot alone is rarely responsible for allergies, it may cause reactions when consumed as part of other foods. In a report, the ingestion of carrots contained in an ice cream caused allergic reactions.
Carrot allergies may affect over 25% of individuals with food allergies. This could be associated with their allergy to specific carrot proteins. Individuals with pollen food syndrome are the most likely to be allergic to carrots.
Symptoms of carrot allergy include itching or swelling of the lips and irritation of the eyes and nose. In rare situations, carrot intake may also lead to anaphylaxis.
May Cause Flatulence
Certain individuals may find carrots difficult to digest. This can get aggravated if you have too many of them, eventually leading to flatulence (or stomach gas).
Might Be Unsafe For Infants
This has more to do with the size of the carrots. Carrot sticks carry the risk of choking infants. Hence, you may want to limit the number of carrots you are giving to your infants. More importantly, make them into a paste.
Can Cause Skin Discoloration
Eating too many carrots can cause a harmless condition called carotenemia. This is caused by too much beta-carotene in your bloodstream, which makes your skin turn orange.
Carotenemia is highly unlikely unless you are on a restricted diet in which you are required to eat too many carrots for a long time. One medium carrot contains about 4 milligrams of beta-carotene. Consuming more than 20 milligrams of beta-carotene every day for a few weeks can cause skin discoloration.
These are the side effects of carrots you need to be wary about. But as discussed, eating too many of them in a day is a problem. Otherwise, they are among the healthiest foods you can snack on.