Carrots are probably one of the most commonly snacked on veggies, mainly because they’re pretty simple in taste and flavor, and they’re easy to eat just on their own or with a little dip. Kids generally don’t have a problem eating them and as adults, they’re super easy to add to a variety of dishes like salads, soups, stir fry, or as a healthy side dish.
In addition to it being super tasty and versatile, this root veggie is also super healthy! While we’re used to seeing this vegetable in the bright color of orange, there are also purple, red and even black carrots — all of which boast their own incredible benefits. There are lots of yummy health benefits that come from eating carrots regularly, here’s a look at 12 of them…
High cholesterol can be dangerous for the heart because it’s a major risk factor for heart disease. Luckily, those who are at risk for heart disease can load up on carrots because they’ve been known to lower cholesterol levels, explains Healthline.
How does this work? Well Reader’s Digest points out that carrots “contain high amounts of soluble fiber, largely from pectin, which could be the reason they’ve been shown to lower cholesterol.” The source also cites a U.S. study which found that people who ate about a cup of carrots every day for three weeks were able to lower their cholesterol.
Stop Memory Loss
Most of the time when we think of health benefits we think of the physical improvements, but carrots can actually improve our mental health too! This veggie has been known to stop memory loss and keep the mind sharp. Dr. Axe states that carrots even have the ability to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. “This is due to carrots’ ability to lower oxidative stress in the brain that can weaken nerve signaling capacity,” writes the source.
Reader’s Digest cites a Netherlands study that found that “middle-aged people who ate the lowest amount of root vegetables showed more than three times as much cognitive decline as those who ate the most.” Researchers believe this benefit comes from the beta-carotene in the carrot which works to protect the central nervous system. Another study conducted by Harvard nearly 18-years ago found that men who consumed 50-mg of beta-carotene every other day were able to delay their cognitive decay by 1 to 1.5 years.
Good Source of Antioxidants
You’ll hear us talk about this a lot throughout the article because many of the health benefits listed here are due to the fact that carrots are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants have the amazing ability to protect us against various illnesses and chronic diseases.
“Carrots and carrot juice benefit the immune system by helping to defend the body from free radical damage, harmful bacteria, viruses, and inflammation,” explains Dr. Axe. The source then goes on to list all of the antioxidants that carrots contain which includes vitamin C, beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
As with many of the other health benefits on this list, this one comes from the carotenoid content of carrots which, according to Healthline, has been shown to protect against several different types of cancer including prostate, colon, and stomach cancer. Healthline also cites research from a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute which found that “women with high circulating levels of carotenoids may also be at reduced risk of breast cancer.”
Chatelaine notes that red carrots are the best for cancer prevention because they contain lycopene. Another reason this root vegetable is good for fighting cancer is because it contains “a new phytonutrient called falcarinol” which is “being researched for its ability to fight colon cancer,” writes Chatelaine. The source also notes that just 1-cup of carrot contains 4-grams of fiber which makes them a great cancer fighter.
Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of health problems throughout the world, so it’s important to do what we can to reduce our risk. The best way to prevent heart disease is to eat healthily and be active. When it comes to diet, eating more orange colored vegetables like carrots is key. Dr. Axe states that research has shown drinking carrot juice can benefit the heart by “lowering oxidative stress and [improving] the body’s defense against various forms of cardiovascular disease.”
Researchers believe carrots ability to reduce the risk of heart disease is due to their high antioxidant content. “Carrots also work to lower cholesterol, and boost bile production, which increases the body’s ability to digest fat. This not only helps your digestive system to properly absorb nutrition from your food, but also directly impacts the good cholesterol levels in your body — which protects your heart,” writes Dr. Axe.
Maintain Eye Health
One of carrot’s best-known health benefits is that they’re good for eyesight because they’re packed with vitamin A. Sadly, even though they’re healthy, they aren’t magic! They don’t have the power to cure any already existing problems, but they can protect against future issues, especially ones that develop due to a lack of vitamin A. Reader’s Digest talked to Hans Fisher, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry from Rutgers University who explains that the human body is about to convert beta-carotene into vitamin A which can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Another reason to eat more carrots is to improve night blindness. Healthline writes, “individuals that are low in vitamin A are more likely to experience night blindness, a condition that may improve by eating carrots or other foods rich in vitamin A or carotenoids.”
One of the carrot’s biggest claims to fame is its beta-carotene content. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that has been found to lower diabetes risk. In fact, Reader’s Digest writes that one study found that people with a great deal of beta-carotene in their blood had 32-percent lower levels of the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood, as opposed to people who had less beta-carotene.
Maintain Oral Health
When it comes to oral health we often only hear about the foods that do damage to our teeth, but there are some that can actually help maintain good oral health, including carrots! “The nutrients found in carrots help improve immunity, including the body’s ability to fight bacteria and toxins that enter through the mouth and live within the gums and teeth,” writes Dr. Axe. Some of the minerals found in carrots can prevent cavities and tooth decay.
Don’t bother investing in those fancy and expensive strips, according to Dr. Axe, carrots are able to remove plaque and stains from teeth! The best way to do this is eat carrots after meals because the “fiber in carrots also boosts immunity by acting as a natural digestive system brush, scrubbing away unwanted bacteria in the gut and promoting better digestive of immune-boosting nutrients.”
Help with Weight Loss
Anyone who’s interested in losing weight should be eating more vegetables, especially carrots. It’s been found that when carrots are used as a part of a meal, they can “increase satiety and decrease calorie intake in subsequent meals,” writes Healthline after citing a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
This will help fight the urge to snack later on or throughout the day. Because carrots help us feel full, it might also encourage people to eat less during their meals and not overeat which is a common problem. For these reasons, carrots can be helpful with weight loss.
Improve Skin Health
If you’re someone who’s concerned about signs of aging, Chatelaine advises eating more purple carrots. You might think they’re strange because of their interesting color, but it’s actually the purple color that makes them healthy. These carrots get their color from anthocyanin, “a powerful antioxidant that is anti-inflammatory. That means you will age more slowly.”
StyleCraze also points out that carrots in general are high in vitamin C which helps the body produce collagen. This is important because collagen is a protein that maintains the elasticity of the skin, ahem wrinkles. Carrots are also a good source of vitamin A which fights wrinkles, pigmentation and uneven skin tones.
StyleCraze lists many other skin benefits from carrots which includes a DIY face mask to get glowing skin, apply it directly on the skin to clear blemishes, and it can also be used to protect against the sun and heal sunburns! Eating carrots regularly also helps the body not only heal wounds faster, but also fight infection and inflammation because they have high beta-carotene content, says Dr. Axe.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate and it’s extremely important for our overall health because not only does the body use it as one of its main energy sources, but it helps keep things moving in our digestive system. One of the biggest side effects of not getting enough fiber (which is a common problem for many people) is constipation which can lead to all kinds of other nasty side effects like hemorrhoids and bloating.
Fiber is the best solution to this because it encourages bowel regularity. Fiber also controls blood sugar levels and maintains weight. Thankfully, one medium carrot provides 2-grams of fiber which is about 7-percent of the daily recommended amount, explains LiveStrong.
Good for Bones
Even though it’s a small amount, carrots do contain some vitamin C and calcium. Reader’s Digest points out that 1-cup of carrots amounts to 5-milligrams of vitamin C and 96-milligrams of calcium. Even a small amount of these nutrients is important because a lot of people, especially menopausal women, do not get enough calcium in their daily diet.
Eating a cup of carrots every day is a great way to get a little extra. “Every little bit helps,” says Hans Fisher, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry from Rutgers University to the source.