Get ready for real talk about why carrots are more than just a bunny snack; they’re legit good for you. Forget the idea that carrots are just a crunchy side for your ranch; these orange veggies are full of health benefits. Carrots are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, like the superheroes of the veggie world. Whether you’re munching on them solo, tossing them in a stirfry, or blending them into a smoothie, here are the top 10 carrots benefits and why they should be a regular on your plate.
1. Maintains Healthy Vision
Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which ultimately get converted into vitamin A. So much so that one large carrot, or about 1 cup of carrot, can provide the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Why does this matter? Well, a possible result of vitamin A deficiency is vision damage, as well as night blindness. Specifically, the carotenoids that end up getting converted are alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, but what’s even better is that cooking carrots, whether roasted, baked, or grilled, will not reduce the amount of carotenoid content and can even improve its absorption! Feel free to enjoy carrots however you prefer to keep your vision sharp!
2. Supports the Immune System
There are many vitamins that support our immune system, and the ones found in carrots are vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C assists with iron absorption, which prevents infections. Try pairing carrots with iron-rich foods such as white beans, spinach, and tofu at your next meal to gain this amazing benefit! Vitamin C also helps you build antibodies to keep your immune system strong. Vitamin A enhances the immune system. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to alterations in the mucosal surfaces of body systems such as the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary. This alteration in mucosal surfaces negatively impacts the body’s ability to protect against foreign pathogens. Do your immune system a favor and crunch on a carrot to keep it strong!
3. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Besides promoting healthy vision, beta-carotene, the compound that gives carrots their vibrant color, was linked to reducing cancer risks. Specifically lung, colon, and prostate cancers. In addition to beta-carotene, carrots have another carotenoid, lycopene, linked to fighting breast, stomach, and prostate cancers. The reduced risk for cancer could be attributed to the fact that carrots are usually enjoyed by people already eating a healthy diet, but don’t let this stop you from snacking on these tasty vegetables more often!
4. Improves Digestion
Another benefit that carrot delivers is that it promotes better digestion. Carrots contain both soluble and insoluble fiber to keep your gut healthy. Soluble fiber, found in the form of pectin, helps improve your gut health and reduces the risk of diseases by feeding the beneficial bacteria in your stomach. Insoluble fiber helps promote regular bowel movements and reduces the risk of constipation! So keep your gut happy and eat a crunchy carrot!
5. Lowers Cholesterol
Did you know that carrots can help lower your cholesterol? Believe it or not, it’s completely true! Remember those soluble fibers I was talking about; they are the secret to this equation. Soluble fibers can help lower cholesterol by impairing cholesterol absorption in your digestive tract. Soluble fiber dissolves itself in water to form a jelly-like substance in your intestine. Then, it binds with cholesterol to effectively prevent it from being absorbed into your body, thus reducing the risk of heart disease!
6. Aids Skin Health
Again, we’re talking about beta-carotene and vitamin A, but it’s for the skin this time! Have you ever wanted smoother and brighter skin? Well, vitamin A will do the trick for you! In fact, vitamin A is essential for healthy skin. Additionally, carrots have antioxidants to help protect your skin from damage, specifically free radicals, which damage the skin on the cellular level. But be careful; too much carrot will turn you orange!
7. Improves Brain Function
Another amazing benefit that carrots provide is that it improves brain function! Naturally occurring compounds found in carrots have the ability to act as anti-inflammatories in the brain. Specifically, you can find the antioxidant called lutein, which has been found to have beneficial effects on the brain. Lutein helps to reduce brain inflammation and age-related memory deficits. Keep your mind sharp by roasting, blending, or sauteing carrots with your favorite foods!
8. Regulates Blood Sugar
If you didn’t know, carrots can help regulate your blood sugar levels! It’s crazy to think that carrots have a higher sugar content than other vegetables, but they have anti-diabetic properties! After eating, carrots contain soluble fibers that have been linked to helping regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. The soluble fiber also slows down your digestion of sugar in your bloodstream, meaning your blood sugar level will slowly rise over time, and won’t spike as high as if you had a sugary snack. So if you’re watching your waistline, don’t be afraid to enjoy a serving of delightful carrots!
9. Promotes Healthy Teeth and Gums
I’ll be surprised if you know about this carrot benefit, but carrots are hailed as the cavity-fighting veggie! In fact, munching on these orange sticks acts as a natural toothbrush! I know it sounds like a far stretch, but carrots do clean your teeth. Of course, not as well as actually brushing your teeth. More understandably, carrots have vitamin A, which strengthens your teeth. Get ready to clean your teeth the natural way the next time you take a bite out of a crunchy carrot!
10. Helps with Weight Loss
Two words, low calories. Carrots are a low-calorie food with a good source of fiber. Better yet, carrots can increase fullness and effectively decrease calorie intake! Meaning you will not have the feeling of grabbing that extra large bowl of ice cream, only a small one. In fact, carrots are actually 88 percent water! It just can’t get any better than this!
This article originally appeared on Craving Veg.