At 30 calories and less than one gram of fat a pop, carrots can (and should!) be a mainstay in any healthy diet. And yes, they are absolutely loaded with eyesight-protecting vitamin A, no matter which color you choose. Get more facts on this versatile root veggie below.
Serving size: 1 large carrot (about 8″ long)
- 30 calories
- 7g carbohydrates
- .68g protein
- <1g total fat
- 0g saturated fat
- 2g fiber (8% DV)
- 41g sugar
- 50 mg sodium
- 230mg potassium (7% DV)
- 9mg magnesium (2% DV)
- 2mg vitamin C (7% DV)
- 14 ug folate
- 12028 IU vitamin A (241% DV)
- .48 mg vitamin E (2% DV)
- 5 ug vitamin K (12% DV)
Health Benefits of Carrots
They’re not just a low-cal snack. Making carrots a part of your diet can:
- Keep eyesight sharp:Vitamin A protects ocular health.
- Strengthen the immune system: Vitamin A also helps cells grow.
- Promote regularity: The fiber fills you up and contributes to good digestionand absorption.
- Lower your risk of cancer:Beta-carotene may help prevent aging-associated health problems, including gastric and prostate cancer as well as inflammation and coronary heart disease.
With all of those big boosts in mind, here’s what you need to know about cooking, eating, and choosing kinds of carrots.
How many carrots should I eat?
While any food can make you gain weight if you eat it in excess, it’s pretty difficult to “overdo it” on produce — carrots included! Carrots are a key source of beta-carotene, the plant-based precursor to vitamin A, making them a great food for protecting eyesight and eye health overall. Plus, you don’t have to go crazy on portion size: Just one large carrot has more than double your daily value! A carrot a day keeps the eye doctor away? Not out of the realm of possibility.
Should I peel them?
The peels contain about half of the antioxidants (known as phenolic compounds) in carrots, so you should try washing them thoroughly instead of peeling. However, if you’re shredding them to eat later, removing the outer layer may help maintain color and increase shelf life.
What about carrots in other colors?
They’re all nutritious choices, but their nutrient composition will differ ever-so-slightly. Recent studies suggest that the flavonoids in black or purple carrots have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Plus, the polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids in black carrots may substantially defend against chronic disease.
Interestingly, some types of red carrots may provide more beta-carotene and large amounts of lycopene, nutrients linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.
How should I prepare them?
Boiling carrots may reduce their nutritional content, but freezing them will maintain most of it. Enjoy them raw, shredded in salads, or in smoothies.
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