Are Carrots Good For You?
Spring has sprung and so have delicious carrots for a spring harvest. We wanted to show off more about this amazing and nutritious vegetable in today's blog!! This article will not only discuss the nutritional benefits of carrots, but their health benefits and recipes as well.
Carrots are a part of the red orange vegetable subgroup, but can come in a variety of other colors such as yellow, white, orange, red, and purple. The orange carrots get their color from beta carotene, which is an antioxidant that your body converts into Vitamin A. They are crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. They are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium, as well as antioxidants. Beta carotene is a vitamin that has been shown to be beneficial for eye health. Secondly, it is also a high fiber source that is low in calories, so it can be beneficial for weight loss, cholesterol, and both heart and digestive health. Also, their antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
The nutrition facts for two small raw carrots are below:
As you can see from the list above, carrots are mostly made up of water and carbohydrates that are made up of starches and sugars, such as sucrose and glucose. They do also remain low on glycemic index (contrary to popular belief), with raw carrots being the lowest, then cooked, and highest would be for puréed carrots.
There are both soluble and insoluble fibers in carrots. Pectin is the main source of the soluble fiber in carrots. Soluble fibers can lower blood sugars by slowing down the digestion of both sugar and starch. These soluble fibers have also been shown to decrease cholesterol levels by impairing overall absorption from the digestive tract.
Lastly, there are plenty of vitamins and minerals in carrots. The first to mention is Vitamin A. As mentioned before carrots are rich in beta carotene which converts into Vitamin A. This nutrient is important to promote healthy vision, growth, development, and immune function. Also, present is biotin, Vitamin K, potassium, and Vitamin B6.
So how can we incorporate them into our diets? They are great raw! Simply pair them with hummus or a Greek yogurt dip for a balanced snack. Carrots also taste great as a side dish; this can be steamed, roasted with cinnamon or garlic, or even in a stir-fry.
We hope you enjoy carrots as much as we do!!
Until Next Time,
Katherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN