5 health benefits of eating more carrots
Carrots are one of the most powerful tools in your fridge to help you maintain optimal health.
Less expensive and easier to come by than many so-called "superfoods," carrots offer a wide range of health benefits, last for weeks in the fridge, and are easy to include in meals and snacks for all ages.
1 Carrots promote eye health.
The root veggies are full of a host of vitamins and minerals that play important roles in optimal functioning of many of our organs. Perhaps most famously, carrots are rich in beta carotene (the compound that gives carrots their signature, vivid orange hue), which gets converted to Vitamin A in our bodies.
"Vitamin A is probably most well-known for its important role in supporting eye health and good vision, and adequate intake of it is essential in reducing the risk of macular degeneration," Martin says. A half-cup serving of raw, chopped carrots provides more than half of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A for adults.
2 Carrots help skin stay healthy.
In addition to its role in our vision, Vitamin A is also essential in protecting healthy skin. Martin cites a recent study that found that people who consumed more vitamin A and carotenoids had reduced risk of skin cancer. "Regular intake of carrots, which are one of the best sources of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid beta-carotene, can help ensure adequate vitamin A supply in the body," she says.
3 Carrots are great for your gut.
Carrots have 2 grams of fiber per half-cup serving, and that's a mix of soluble fiber (in the form of pectin) and insoluble fiber. Shapiro explains that soluble fiber can slow down how quickly our stomachs empty, which increases feelings of fullness after meals. Insoluble fiber is what's responsible for helping us prevent constipation by adding bulk to our stool. Taken together, carrots are powerful tools for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
4 Carrots are heart-healthy.
Shapiro explains that in addition to eye health, carrots are also high in potassium, which is important for cardiovascular health. "Carrots are rich in disease-fighting phytonutrients with antioxidant properties, like carotenoids and polyphenols," says Martin. Taken in combination with their fiber content, which is beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, carrots have the potential to provide protection against heart disease and its risk factors, such as high cholesterol.
5 Carrots are glucose-friendly.
Carrots have a minimal impact on blood glucose, says Shapiro, making them a good snack for both diabetics and anyone hoping to avoid blood sugar spikes. Steady blood sugar levels help you avoid that constant crash-and-snack cycle, which can impact weight, energy levels, and mood.