Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.
Carrots are root vegetables that grow underground. You probably have seen only those that are orange in your local grocery store or at the farmer's market. However, carrots come in other colors, such as yellow, white, black, purple, and red. Each color has its own health benefits. The colors do not all taste the same. The slight difference in taste is noticed when carrots are eaten raw rather than when they have been cooked.
The root is the enlarged, more palatable, and less woody-textured part of the carrot. Even though the root is the most commonly eaten part of the vegetable, the stem and leaves can also be eaten. It is interesting to know that when carrots were first cultivated, they were grown for their aromatic leaves and seeds instead of for their roots.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that the world production of carrots in one year is about 40 million tons with 45 percent of the world total grown in China. Today, the average American eats about 10 pounds of carrots in a year.
Carrot: The Perfect Health Food
Carrots are colorful, sweet, economical, and perfectly healthy food. In fact, carrots were originally grown to be medicine. The root, green leaves, and the stem were used to treat many ailments.
Carrots have a number of health benefits, including promoting weight loss and being linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lowering cholesterol levels, and improved eye health.
Some people eat raw carrots to help keep their teeth clean and plaque-free. The hard vegetable scrapes plaque and food particles from teeth. That method also stops bacteria from building up on the teeth as well as preventing decay.
Ways to Eat Carrots
Carrots are versatile vegetables because they can be eaten in many different ways. They can be eaten raw as a snack and served raw in salads or in wraps. Carrots are delicious as a snack when used for Ranch, French onion, and other dips.
Most vegetables are healthiest when they are eaten raw. However, Carrots are healthier when they are cooked because heat brings out more of their nutrients. They can be roasted, boiled, stir-fried, steamed, put in casseroles, soups, and stews. The natural sugar in carrots gives them their sweet flavor. That's why carrots are ideal ingredients in cakes, curries, juices, and smoothies.
Carrots can be added to pot roasts and other main dishes for flavor and a colorful presentation. They can be cut into thin strips and added to mixed vegetables and to rice. Kids and adults like to have small carrots in their lunch boxes for a treat. Carrots are so healthy that they can be pureed and fed to babies and given to pets to eat.
Size of Carrots
Carrots are sold in many different sizes and shapes. Baby carrots are sold in grocery stores. The mini-sized carrots are ideal for snacking and dipping. You can buy carrots cubes and chips frozen the frozen vegetable section.
Various Colors of Carrots
The different colors of carrots have their own benefits.
- Orange is the most popular color of carrots that are loaded with alpha-carotene and beta-carotene that can be converted into vitamin A to keep the immune system healthy, improve eyesight and maintain healthy skin. Orange carrots lower the risk of oral and lung cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.
- Yellow carrots contain xanthophylls that help develop healthy eyes and fight against macular degeneration by as much as 40 percent. They may help prevent the risk of tumors associated with lung and other cancers.
- Red carrots contain lycopene that fights cancers and heart disease. Lycopene increases healthy skin and maintains a healthy blood pressure level, heart disease, and some cancers, including prostate cancer.
- Purple carrots are orange on the inside. They contain anthocyanins that may help slow blood clotting in people suffering from heart disease. Purple carrots help to improve cholesterol levels and fight against oxidative stress.
- White carrots have no pigment at all. That's why they are white instead of another color. However, they do contain other properties called phytochemicals. White carrots are the least healthy of all the carrots. Therefore, choose other colors before selecting the white ones.
Nutrition Facts About Carrots
Carrots are crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. They are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants. The vegetable mainly contain 86-95 percent water about 10 percent carbs with very little protein and fat. One medium-sized carrot has about 2 grams of fiber and only 8 grams of sugar. The roots contain high quantities of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. The beta-carotene gives them their orange color. Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, B6, C, E, K, and potassium. A medium carrot contains only 41 calories.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. They are also a good source of several B vitamins, as well as vitamin K and potassium
Carrots are especially beneficial for diabetics to eat because of their low-glycemic content and soluble fibers that can lower blood sugar levels. They also lower blood cholesterol.
Carrots may lead to improved health and decreased risk of disease and reduce risk of constipation.
Fun Facts About Carrots
- April 4 is International Carrot Day.
- Carrots rank ninth out of 28 vegetable crops in the United States.
- Over 875,000 tons of carrots are sold in the United States every year.
- Every year the sale of carrots comes to about $70,500,000.
- Kern County, California produces about 90 percent of carrots that are sold.
- California is known as the "Carrot Capital of the World."
- Other states that produce carrots include Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
- Carrots are inexpensive and a very healthy budget item.
- Carrots will last for several months when stored in the refrigerator.
- Even though carrots provide health benefits, some people are allergic to the root vegetable.
- The high levels of beta carotene in carrots help people see in the dark.
- You can make a face mask with grated carrots mixed with honey.
- Raw grated carrot can help heal wounds and cuts.
- Drinking carrot juice is healthier for you than eating carrots.
- Drinking just one glass of carrot juice is equivalent to an entire meal.
- Usually, raw vegetables are healthier than cooked ones. However, eating cooked carrots is healthier than eating them raw.
- The carrot is considered to be the poor man's apple because of its many health benefits.
For More Information
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on April 06, 2021:
This was such an interesting article with useful information.
This is one root vegetable I could eat each day. I'm only ever able to find the orange ones in the supermarket but I would like to try the other one.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2021:
I am sure that we keep up that average of eating at least 10 pounds of carrots in a year. It is a staple in our home, and we always keep them in our refrigerator, ready for use in many different ways. I enjoyed reading the fun facts about carrots.