Health & Wellness

4 Surprising Health Benefits of Carrots: Fight Weight Gain, Aging, and More!

Carrots have long been heralded for improving vision. But did you know that the health benefits of carrots expand far beyond eye health?

In fact, there are numerous studies showing that carrots can support everything from heart health to your digestion to even your skin!

So, let’s learn all about the health benefits of carrots and why they’re such an important part of a healthy diet. Then, we’ll review a few fun ways you can get more into your regular food rotation. Let’s dive in!

 

What Makes Carrots So Healthy?

The carrot is a root vegetable particularly known for its rich nutritional profile. It’s high in bioactive compounds such as carotenoids and dietary fibers, along with many vitamins and minerals.

Interestingly, the consumption of carrots and carrot-focused foods is increasing each year due to its growing status as an important source of natural antioxidants. This is important because antioxidants are known for having powerful anti-cancer activities. [1]

In fact, carrot consumption has become so popular that carrot pomace (the byproduct obtained from carrot juice processing), which is known to be made up of 50 percent beta-carotene (a carotenoid), has been suggested by scientists for use in supplementation form! [2] (Of all fruits and vegetables, carrots actually contain the highest amount of beta-carotene.) 

Why is that important? Well, your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. And while it’s common to think of vitamin A as simply as a part of your daily multivitamin, it is so much more than that.

We often hear about the importance and power of vitamin C. After all, it’s known to support your immune system. But did you know that vitamin A also supports your immune system while also aiding many other important bodily functions?

This arguably makes it one of the most critical vitamins in your body. Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s mainly metabolized in your liver, which is where your body converts most of the beta-carotene you consume into vitamin A.

And vitamin A is known to not only support immune system health, as I mentioned above, but also fight inflammation, support eye health, block toxins, support bone health, and more.

Because your body converts the beta-carotene in carrots into vitamin A, you’ll find that many of the health benefits of carrots are actually the same as the benefits of vitamin A!

Now that you have a little more information about why carrots are so healthy for your body, let’s take a closer look at some of those specific benefits you’ll get from eating them.

4 Surprising Health Benefits of Carrots

We all know that one of the major benefits of eating carrots focuses on improved vision and overall eye health. But did you know about these six surprising health benefits of carrots?

1. Slows cellular and skin aging

As we discussed above, carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. What you may not know is that vitamin A acts as an incredibly powerful antioxidant in your body, which actually slows down cellular aging.

As a result of this function, one of the top surprising health benefits of carrots is that it actually slows down the aging process. And one of the most obvious places this is seen is in your skin.

In fact, research has shown that vitamin A even promotes skin regeneration.

Basically, retinol (the active form of vitamin A) actually helps stimulate new skin cell production! As a result, it’s been shown to help slow the aging process by protecting against the breakdown of collagen! [3]

But that’s not all. Studies have also revealed that beta-carotene-rich foods further enrich skin health by providing protection against UV damage, which is also know to age skin. [4]

Interestingly, applying vitamin A to your skin has also been shown to help significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles by increasing collagen production. [5]

As you can see, eating carrots truly benefits your health and fights aging from the inside-out.

2. Supports healthy weight management

One of the most exciting health benefits of carrots is that they’re known to be great for supporting healthy weight management.

Here’s why: According to a 2015 review, abdominal obesity is associated with low carotenoid (the pigment that make carrots orange) status.

Moreover, the review confirmed that consumption of carotenoids can influence new fat cell growth and fat storage. As a result, the authors stated that carotenoid consumption may play an important role in reducing belly fat and, more specifically, abdominal obesity. [6]

There’s another element at play here, too, that gives carrots this incredible health benefit: They’re also rich in fiber, which is known to support satiety and cut down on in-between-meal snacking.

In fact, according to a 2014 review, eating fiber-rich foods is incredibly effective at inducing short-term satiety, which could translate into sustained weight loss. [7]

So, if you’re looking to drop a few pounds or maintain your current weight, consider subbing out some of those less healthy snack foods with some carrots, or add a few carrots to your meals.

They’re delicious roasted or raw, and make for an easy addition to most meals. Plus, they’ll leave you feeling satisfied for longer, cutting down on that weight-inducing between-meal snacking.

3. Aids digestion

Thanks to its high fiber content, one of the top health benefits of carrots is the ability to support digestion. How high? Well, one cup of chopped carrots contains 3.6 grams of fiber, which is about 14 percent of the average RDA. [8]

It’s well documented that fiber intake is associated with improved digestive health, including promoting regular bowel movements. But did you know that it’s also known to positive alter the gut microbiome?

According to a 2021 study on 26 undergraduate students and their instructors, increasing fiber intake by an average of 25 grams per day, aiming for 40 to 50 total grams of fiber consumption daily, resulted in an 8 percent change in gut microbiome. [9]

Specifically, the changes were due to increases in the bacteria BifidobacteriumBacteroides, and Prevotella, which are known for breaking down fiber.

This is a major finding and one of the most incredible health benefits of carrots because any imbalance in the gut microbiome is known to result in a myriad of health concerns, including weight gain, high cholesterol, and even abnormally high blood sugar levels.

4. Supports heart health

Finally, one of the more surprising health benefits of carrots is its powerful effects for heart health.

How powerful? Well, eating carrots was shown to reduce cholesterol levels by up to 44 percent and triglycerides by up to 40 percent in an animal study. [10]

This is incredibly important because high cholesterol levels often result in fatty deposits in your blood vessels, and these deposits can break off and form clots that are known to cause heart attacks or strokes. [11]

Meanwhile, having high triglycerides means you have high amounts of fat in your blood. And this is connected to having obesity, out-of-control diabetes, and more major health concerns.

 

Health benefits of carrots - Dr. Pingel

 

Getting More Carrots into Your Diet

You don’t just have to resign yourself to munching on raw carrots (unless you like that for a snack!) or eating them roasted for dinner all the time. You can take advantage of the health benefits of carrots in a variety of ways!

I like to use them in soups, such as in this Carrot Ginger Turmeric Soup with Roasted Chickpeas, and in healthy stir frys, like this Sesame Tofu Stir Fry Recipe.

You can even throw them in wraps or side dishes, like my Colorful Vegan Collard Wrap or Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw.

The bottom line is carrots are versatile vegetables, so you can really incorporate them into almost any dish.

Get creative and know the options are endless. And whenever you’re prepping your meals, keep in mind all of the health benefits of carrots you can get by including them into your diet on a regular basis. Here’s to your health!

 

Key Takeaways

  • Carrots have long been heralded for improving vision. But the health benefits of carrots expand far beyond eye health.
  • Carrots have a rich nutritional profile. And of all fruits and vegetables, they contain the highest amount of beta-carotene, a nutritional powerhouse known for providing numerous health benefits.
  • Some the top surprising health benefits of carrots include: slowing the aging process, supporting healthy weight management, aiding digestion, and supporting heart health.

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