The carrot (Daucus carota) is a crunchy, tasty root vegetable that is a go-to snack packed with nutrition. Carrots are a source of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which is converted in the body from beta-carotene and to a lesser extent, alpha-carotene (carotenoids).
Carrots have a number of health benefits, containing many “phytochemicals” (health-promoting plant compounds). The carotenoids they contain have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of various diseases. Carrots are a weight loss friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The carotene antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of certain types of cancers, including prostrate, colon and stomach cancers. In addition, carrots are famous for the benefits to eye health, including improved night vision and reduced risk of macular degeneration.
Carrots rank low on the glycemic index scale, meaning that after consuming them, a person’s blood sugar rises a relatively small amount. Eating low-glycemic foods is linked to numerous health benefits, and is especially recommended for diabetics.
Vitamin A promotes good vision, and is important for growth, development, and immune function. Vitamin K is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health. Potassium is important for blood pressure control.
Carrots also contain lutein, which is important for eye health, and polyacetylenes, which are thought to help protect against leukemia and cancer cells.